From the internationally bestselling author Karl Ove Knausgaard, a sprawling and deeply human novel that questions the responsibilities we have toward one another and ourselves—and the limits of what we can understand about life itself
In 1986, twenty-year-old Syvert Løyning returns from the military to his mother’s home in southern Norway. One evening, his dead father comes to him in a dream. Realizing that he doesn’t really know who his father was, Syvert begins to investigate his life and finds clues pointing to the Soviet Union. What he learns changes his past and undermines the entire notion of who he is. But when his mother becomes ill, and he must care for his little brother, Joar, on his own, he no longer has time or space for lofty speculations.
In present-day Russia, Alevtina Kotov, a biologist working at Moscow University, is traveling with her young son to the home of her stepfather, to celebrate his eightieth birthday. As a student, Alevtina was bright, curious and ambitious, asking the big questions about life and human consciousness. But as she approaches middle-age, most of that drive has gone, and she finds herself in a place she doesn’t want to be, without really understanding how she got there. Her stepfather, a musician, raised her as his own daughter, and she was never interested in learning about her biological father; when she finally starts looking into him, she learns that he died many years ago and left two sons, Joar and Syvert.
Years later, when Syvert and Alevtina meet in Moscow, two very different approaches to life emerge. And as a bright star appears in the sky, it illuminates the wonder of human existence and the mysteries that exist beyond our own worldview. Set against the political and cultural backdrop of both the 1980s and the present day, The Wolves of Eternity is an expansive and affecting book about relations—to one another, to nature, to the dead.
About the Author
Karl Ove Knausgaard’s first novel, Out of the World, was the first ever debut novel to win the Norwegian Critics’ Prize and his second, A Time for Everything, was widely acclaimed. The My Struggle cycle of novels has been heralded as a masterpiece wherever it has appeared.
“[Knausgaard] brings to life—even celebrates—the complex and ambivalent give-and-take between men, between women and between men and women. These relationships, full of misunderstandings, concessions and reconciliations, feel real, without agenda . . . The Wolves of Eternity, like some 19th-century Russian novel, wrestles with the great contraries: the materialist view and the religious, the world as cosmic accident versus embodiment of some radiant intention. Is this world shot through with meaning or not? Has there ever been a better time to ask?” —Sven Birkerts, The New York Times Book Review
“Knausgaard is a master . . . guiding us inexorably and irresistibly towards the next installment.” —Financial Times
“Knausgaard is back, with a compulsively readable new novel . . . The good news, at least for hardcore Knausgaard fans, is that the second book in [his] series, The Wolves of Eternity, poses more questions than it answers . . . Knausgaard once again proves a thoughtful and wide reader. Dostoevsky, Tolstoy and Rilke are referenced alongside Marina Tsvetaeva, the poet who gives the book its title, and Nikolai Fyodorov, a pre-revolutionary Russian futurist who believed that all human effort should be directed toward resurrecting the dead . . . Knausgaard remains one of the great chroniclers of the moment-by-moment experience of life. Alevtina will be thinking deep thoughts about evolution one minute and contemplating meatballs the next. Knausgaard is acutely in tune with the simultaneity of life’s majesty and banality . . . Although the final shape of Knausgaard’s latest enterprise is not yet visible, there’s famously no smoke without wildfires. It’s likely something wicked this way comes.” —The Washington Post
“Inspired . . . Knausgaard’s book doesn’t shy away from big questions about the substance of his characters’ inner lives . . . [he] captures the spirit of a Russian novel.” —Publishers Weekly