Friday, June 26, 2015

Didn’t anything else happen at school today then, Karl Ove?’ Dad said.

I nodded and swallowed.

‘We’re going to have a swimming class,’ I said. ‘Six lessons. At another school.’

‘There you go,’ Dad said, running the back of his hand across his mouth, without removing the ribbon of onion from his beard. ‘That’s not a bad idea. You can’t live on an island and not be able to swim.’

In the first cityReader, over four years ago now, I used a swimming metaphor about how you can’t live on an island and not know how to swim, to make the point that you can’t live in our culture and not know how to read. I said there were kids drowning all over the city.

This supper-time exchange takes place in Book 3 of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle. He is six years old here; he just started first grade. The family lives on a kind of island. 

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