Each week, PEN America highlights some of its favorite manuscripts, advocacy campaigns, readings, photos, and transcripts in our From the Archives feature. Today’s feature, from A Time for Everything by Karl Ove Knausgaard, was originally published in 2010. Read the entire excerpt of the novel here

from A Time for Everything

The sea was now in the valley.

Then between the sloping mountainsides it came flooding over. For perhaps fifty yards it retained the shape the mountains had for so long impressed on it before it began to spread out, while its speed remained constant. Subconsciously they’d expected the wave to stop, because the plain it ran into was so huge. But it was constantly being replenished from the water in the valley behind, and simply rushed on yard by yard. Cart tracks, fence posts, streambeds, meadows and thickets, fields and pastures, houses and barns, groves and bogs, drains and paths. It swamped everything and covered it. If it met an obstacle, it would divide and reunite on the other side. And so, the gray surface that formed after the first wave was punctured by a myriad of tiny islands. But not for long. As the wave crashed foaming across the ground, the water behind it lifted, rose swelling, across the whole width of the valley, island after island vanished, at the same time as the pressure on the wave got stronger all the time, so that its speed and size merely increased the farther it got.

It thundered between the walls of the valley.

For the first time Anna was seriously frightened.

She realized that living was just what it was not. That a will of its own was just what it did not have. It was dead and blind and followed the laws of the dead and the blind.