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240 pages; Penguin Press

Norwegian novelist and essayist Karl Ove Knausgaard bounded to fame with his six-volume alpha memoir cum novel, My Struggle, gaining fans and foes alike as he obsessively dissected each millisecond of his life—a scientist locked away in the laboratory of his own ego. In his new book, Autumn, the first in a seasonal quartet, Knausgaard casts his gaze outward, crafting a lyrical collage of mini essays and letters to his unborn daughter. Pondering fall’s "vast cloud massifs...hanging motionless in the blue sky," he also muses on objects as vessels of memory, or the cast of the sun just before dawn, "so faint it almost doesn’t seem to be light at all, merely a kind of enfeebling of the darkness." On the other hand, he hasn’t completely abandoned his fascination with the mundane: Witness the chapter labeled "Toilet Bowls."

— Hamilton Cain