*Longlisted for the DUBLIN Literary Award 2022*
A fight against the dark
From 2013 to 2017, the narrator was periodically interned in a psychiatric ward where she was subjected to electroconvulsive therapy. As the treatments at this “factory” progressed, the writer’s memories began to disappear. What good is a writer without her memory? This novel, based on the author’s experiences, is an eloquent and profound attempt to hold on to the past, to create a story, to make sense, and to keep alive ties to family, friends, and even oneself. Moments from childhood, youth, marriage, parenting, and divorce flicker across the pages of October Child. This is the story of one woman’s struggle against mental illness and isolation. It is a raw testimony of how writing can preserve and heal.
Linda Boström Knausgård
Linda Boström Knausgård (Sweden) is an author and poet, as well as a producer of documentaries for Swedish radio. Her first novel, The Helios Disaster, was awarded… Read more
Book Club Questions
1. Are there any forms of agency available to our seemingly powerless narrator? If so, which ones?
2. In what ways are social classes discussed in the book? How does the narrator’s perception of her social class contribute to her own identity?
3. Are the characters in the narrator’s life supportive or dismissive of her adversity?
4. Who is Attila, encountered by the narrator towards the end of the book?
5. What is the narrator’s relationship to physical places – houses, streets, wards, countries?
6. How does the protagonist bring her dreams and the events of her past life to the surface of this narrative? What effect does this have?
7. What does October Child say about the types of responsibilities we have towards others and ourselves? What happens when we fail in these responsibilities?
8. In what ways can writing – and reading – be cathartic?
9. If you have read Linda Boström Knausgård’s other work, do you find any themes or characters that consistently reappear? Why do you believe they are important to her?
10. How does a real-life event transform when it becomes expressed in writing? Does writing things down fictionalize them, or preserve them, or both? What kind of transformation do you believe Linda Boström Knausgård sees in her writing?