When I look back at that freedom of childhood, which is in a way infinite, and at all the joy and the intense happiness, now lost, I sometimes think that childhood is where the real meaning of life is located, and that we, adults, are its servants - that that's our purpose.
Is literature more important than hurting people? You can't argue that. You can't say it. It's impossible.
The difficult thing for me is that I want basically to be a good man. That's what I want to be.
My memory is basically visual: that's what I remember, rooms and landscapes. What I do not remember are what the people in these room were telling me. I never see letters or sentences when I write or read, but only the images they produce.
It's one thing to be banal, stupid, and idiotic on the inside. It's another to have it captured in writing.
Concealing what is shameful to you will never lead to anything of value.
As a person, I'm polite - I want to please.
My writing became more and more minimalist. In the end, I couldn't write at all. For seven or eight years, I hardly wrote. But then I had a revelation. What if I did the opposite? What if, when a sentence or a scene was bad, I expanded it, and poured in more and more? After I started to do that, I became free in my writing.
You can write a radical Norwegian or a conservative Norwegian. And when I changed to a conservative Norwegian, I gained this distance or objectivity in the language. The gap released something in me, and in the writing, which made it possible for the protagonist to think thoughts I had never myself thought.
I am happy because I am no longer an author.
I have a longing for fiction, to try to believe in it and to disappear into it.
I have this habit to bow my head, as to look shorter, maybe as a result of an unconscious demand of not taking up so much space.
I do feel guilty. I do. Especially about my family, my children. I write about them, and I know that this will haunt them as well through their lives. Why did I do that to them?
I guess I have a talent for humiliation, a place within me that experience can't reach, which is terrible in real life but something that comes in handy in writing. It seems as though humiliation has become a career for me.
My intention throughout has been to write, to create literature, and to be able to look people in the eye after I'd done it - the people I'd written about.
Life develops, changes, is in motion. The forms of literature are not.
The eye of God ends up inside, so that, in the end, you take care of judgment and punishment yourself.
Form is, in a way, death. A novelist's obligation is to break free from the form, even though he knows that this will also be seen as artificial and distanced from life.
I'm giving away my family's story. Who owns the family's story? I don't. But you could turn it around and ask, 'Who is to deny me to write my family's story?' I have hurt people, but I don't think in a dangerous way. But you can't tell.
When it comes to memories of that iconic type, memories that are burned into you, I have maybe ten or so from my childhood. I'm a bad rememberer of situations. I forget almost everything as soon as it happens.
Next: Karl quotes