Karl Ove Knausgaard on talking to girls when you’re twelve

‘I’m going to buy a new jacket too’, I said. ‘A black Matinique. Have you seen it?’ 

‘No’. 

‘The sleeves are long and they’re made of a different material from the rest. Sort of wavy. And it’s got a little flap down the middle covering the zip. What kind of jacket are you going to get?’ 

Marianne shrugged. 

‘A coat, I was thinking.’ 

‘A coat? A light colour?’ 

‘Perhaps. Quite short.’ 

‘You’re the only boy who talks about clothes,’ Solveig said. 

‘I know,’ I said. And it was something I had discovered recently. It was so difficult to talk to girls. Once you had taken their hats or shouted a few bad words after them that was where it usually ended. Well, you could talk to them about homework. But nothing else. Then I suddenly realised. Clothes, that was what they were interested in. All you had to do was chat away. 

(Boyhood Island, 2010, translated 2014)

clothes shop Paris 1111.JPG

Published by

Paul Hodson

Head of Unit "EnergyEfficiency" at European Commission, Directorate-General for Energy

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