I’m making my way through the fifth volume in Knausgaard’s six-part autobiographical novel in preparation for writing a review for the New Republic, and this morning I came across a passage that is quintessentially Knausgaardian in that it manages to be both mortifying and ridiculously hip. The year is 1992, Karl Ove is in Iceland for a semester, and he somehow ends up at Björk’s place, shortly after the release of The Sugarcubes’s Stick Around for Joy. His guide, the Virgil to his Dante, is bassist Bragi Ólafsson.
“Just stick with me,” he said.
I did. I stayed close to him amid the crowd of musicians and artists walking through the town, down to the harbor, where Björk had her apartment. It was on two floors with a broad staircase in the middle and was soon full. Björk herself sat on the floor by a ghetto blaster, surrounded by CDs, playing one song after the other. I was so tired that I could hardly stand. I slumped at the top of the staircase, leaned my head against the balusters and closed my eyes. But I didn’t sleep, something was rising from within, from my stomach and up through my chest, soon it would be in my throat, I jumped to my feet, took the steps to the first floor, ran to the bathroom, opened the door, bent down over the toilet bowl, and spewed up a magnificent yellow and orange cascade that splashed everywhere.
Book Five goes on sale on April 19.