A Time for Everything by Karl Ove Knausgaard

By Karl Ove Knausgaard

Within the 16th century, Antinous Bellori, a boy of 11, is misplaced in a depressing wooded area and stumbles upon gleaming beings, one sporting a spear, the opposite a flaming torch … This occasion is decisive in Bellori’s existence, and he thereafter devotes himself to the pursuit and examine of angels, the intermediaries of the divine. starting within the backyard of Eden and hovering via to the current, A Time for every little thing reimagines pivotal encounters among people and angels: the glow of the cherubim looking at over Eden; the profound love among Cain and Abel regardless of their adjustments; Lot’s disgrace in Sodom; Noah’s isolation ahead of the flood; Ezekiel tied to his mattress, prophesying ferociously; the demise of Christ; and the emergence of sensual, mischievous cherubs within the 17th century. Alighting upon those dramatic scenes – from the Bible and past – Knausgaard’s mind's eye takes flight: the result's a blinding demonstrate of storytelling at its majestic, spellbinding most sensible. Incorporating and hard culture, legend, and the Apocrypha, those penetrating glimpses chance chilling questions: can the character of the divine suffer swap, and will the immortal perish?

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There is something alien about them – as soon as Lot catches sight of them outside the city gate at dusk, he runs to meet them and bows down in the dust at their feet – but also something familial, because immediately afterward he invites them into his house, bakes bread, and prepares a feast, which they eat. Presumably it is this familiarity that makes the author feel it’s not worth the trouble to describe the situation in more detail. Here are two angels eating at a kitchen table in Sodom, having been sent by God to decide the city’s fate, perhaps to annihilate it, and we are told nothing about the atmosphere, what they look like, what they say to each other.

Without taking his eyes off them he stops, clasps his hands, and begins to pray. Our Father, who art in heaven. A sigh passes through the figures in the forest around him. This evening I destroyed an anthill. But I didn’t mean to. I don’t know why I did it. It was a sin and I repent. Please forgive me. Are they retreating? Help me get out of here. Please, help me get out of here. Yes, they are moving away. At first he hardly dares believe it, and peers suspiciously into the gloom. But when they remain motionless, even when he takes a few steps into them, he realizes they’ve gone.

He looks at their mysterious faces, half hidden by the dark, he looks at the small eddies round their boots, the long, narrow fingers curled around the spear, the turned wrist, and all he wants is to be in their presence. Without giving a thought to what he’s doing, he gets up and begins to walk slowly down, all the time concealed by the trees and with his eyes fixed on the two figures, who display no sign of having heard him, but stand there still as ever. Halfway down he notices their wings and thinks what has until then been just a vague inkling: there are two angels standing in the river.

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