A clearly depressed Norwegian

Knausgaard, at the writers camp, drinks himself 'more and more senseless' and is rejected by Linda. He goes to the bathroom in his block, smashes a glass cup and cuts up his own face, pushing the shards as deep as he can. He wakes up still drunk, his face aching and sticking to the pillow.

Self-harm is not necessarily an indicator of suicidal intentions. Many self-harmers cut or burn their arms near the arteries in the soft wrist, and we all know from films that someone who wants to kill themselves will slit their wrists and sit in a bath. So many people mistakenly conflate self-harm with depression and suicide.

Self-harm is actually seen as a form of release, a way of nullifying or quieting strong emotions. In Knausgaard's case it was shame at rejection: he was rejected in favour of someone who was a higher status writer. What else could cause such defeat? But the next morning was even more shameful, because it exposed his internal pain to the world, in the form of cuts and slashes all over his forehead, chin, cheeks, and nose. The women in his life sobbed when they saw him.

Even three years later, in Stockholm, Knausgaard is raw. He refers to himself as a 'podgy, clearly depressed Norwegian.' He has been trying and more-or-less failing to reconnect with Linda, who split from Arve long ago. Knausgaard goes to a party she has thrown and consistently fails to connect with anyone, occupying a chair which he begins to view as his own. As the night looks like a failure he concludes 'there was nothing for it but to drink.' And then he goes quietly home.