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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

A Time to Every Purpose
Under Heaven

(A Time for Everything)

Karl O. Knausgaard

[an overview of the reviews and critical reactions]

general information | review summaries | links | about the author

To purchase A Time for Everything

Title: A Time for Everything
Author: Karl O. Knausgaard
Genre: Novel
Written: 2004 (Eng. 2008)
Length: 499 pages
Original in: Norwegian
Availability: A Time for Everything - US
A Time to Every Purpose Under Heaven - UK
A Time for Everything - Canada
A Time to Every Purpose Under Heaven - India
Alles hat seine Zeit - Deutschland
  • Norwegian title: En tid for alt
  • Translated by James Anderson
  • US title: A Time for Everything
  • Original UK title: A Time to Every Purpose Under Heaven

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Why we haven't reviewed it yet:

Had a go at it; a lot to take

Chances that we will review it:

Maybe after we get to his first novel

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Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
FAZ . 10/3/2008 Andrea Neuhaus
The Guardian . 8/11/2008 Salley Vickers
The Independent A 30/11/2008 Jonathan Gibbs
Independent on Sunday . 21/1/2009 Anna Paterson
The Telegraph . 6/8/2009 Heather McRobie
The Times . 1/11/2008 Kate Saunders
World Lit. Today . 9-12/2005 Jan Sjavik

  Review Consensus:

  No consensus

  From the Reviews:
  • "Eine sperrige Botschaft also, mit der der Autor der gegenwärtigen Debatte um das Religiöse einen dunklen Ton hinzufügt. Mit Alles hat seine Zeit, schon 2004 in Norwegen erschienen, hat der in seiner Heimat hymnisch gefeierte Karl Ove Knausgård, Jahrgang 1968, sich endgültig in die Liga der großen Erzähler der Gegenwart hineingeschrieben. Seine Prosa ist entschlossen und präzise, von berückendem sprachlichen Glanz und überwältigender poetischer Dichte. Erstaunlich ist, dass Knausgårds gewaltiges Epos vom Niedergang der Engel trotz der Vielfalt an Themen und Geschichten nicht überfrachtet wirkt." - Andrea Neuhaus, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

  • "This early part of the book is gripping. Knausgaard is at his best with finely observed natural description; he is also skilful with atmosphere. (...) So far, so good. But then the novel turns to theological and historical-sociological exegesis, which becomes a recurring, and increasingly distracting, strain. To be fair, it is, from a historical point of view, well researched. (...) Unlike, for example, Patrick White's great novel on a similar theme, The Riders in the Chariot, Knausgaard's reworkings seem over-contrived, adding nothing very real to the peculiar resonance of the originals. This is a book that will divide people. It may well become a cult novel. But it left me wanting to return to the spare and unpretentious tellings of the old stories that engendered it." - Salley Vickers, The Guardian

  • "If this quasi-theological fantasy was all the book was, it would certainly still be of interest, but Bellori's obsession is not the half of it. We only ever read him indirectly, through the words of a long-unidentified narrator. This narrator pauses his account of the Italian's life for two extended takes on familiar Bible stories. The first, at a novella-length 100 pages, treats Cain and Abel; the second, at twice that length, the Flood. It is here the book's true weirdness and brilliance shine out. (...) Not just strange, this is a quite extraordinary novel, and completely original." - Jonathan Gibbs, The Independent

  • "Knausgard's handling of argument is masterly, but the premises shift with mood and time, as does his idea of God. (...) This kind of speculative tale needs very good telling not to read like mad pedantry or utter tosh. Knausgard and his translator, who writes like the author's soulmate, veer close to both." - Heather McRobie, The Telegraph

  • "Windy and dull." - Kate Saunders, The Times

  • "These and other biblical tales are retold with great imaginative power. The connection between them and the novel's end seems to be the common emphasis on the pain associated with family dysfunction. Vankel is able to understand the pain of Cain and Noah because of his own experiences." - Jan Sjavik, World Literature Today

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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A Time for Everything: Reviews: Other books by Karl Ove Knausgaard under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgaard (Karl Ove Knausgård) was born in 1968.

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