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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My kind of book
This is the first book I've read by this author, but it certainly won't be the last. Knut Hamsun takes the reader into the mind of an intelligent young writer, starving in the streets of Oslo (then Christiania). It is difficult to imagine the state of mind one would be in if one were constantly without food or warm lodgings, but since the book was based at least partly on...
Published on 17 Mar 2010 by Blackbeard

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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Small book - big issues!
This book was a choice for our reading group. An easy read and well-written but difficult to 'enjoy'. I wouldn't want to read anything of Hamsum's again but am glad I have read this one. I was very frustrated with the main character who seemed unable to help himself and some of the scenes were harrowing. The characters were well drawn and I was so relieved when he finally...
Published on 11 Dec 2009 by PAM OWEN


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My kind of book, 17 Mar 2010
This review is from: Hunger (Paperback)
This is the first book I've read by this author, but it certainly won't be the last. Knut Hamsun takes the reader into the mind of an intelligent young writer, starving in the streets of Oslo (then Christiania). It is difficult to imagine the state of mind one would be in if one were constantly without food or warm lodgings, but since the book was based at least partly on personal experience, the reader can put himself in the place of the main character and understand him better. The main character, who remains nameless, will be unsympathetic to most readers, but I felt that he wasn't so very different from me, even if I couldn't imagine myself acting or thinking the way that he does in the book. There is a foreword by Paul Aster, whom I felt missed the mark with his analyzation, but the afterword by the translator, Robert Bly, was good and informative. This book reminded me more of Dostoevsky than anyone else, and since he is my favorite author, it's no wonder that I enjoyed it so much. The main character is so impulsive and chaotic, like so many of Dostoevsky's characters, and the style is very similar as well. Another writer it reminded me of was Harald Sortskaeg, who is virtually unknown as far as I can tell, and has only published one book until now. The inner struggle in the main character's mind reminded me a lot of the main character in The Freethinker, which is also a great book. I don't know what else I can add that other reviewers haven't already, so I will just say that I loved this book, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys learning and experiencing the inner thoughts of an intelligent mind.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Henrik Who?, 17 Dec 2002
By 
George Connor (The Remote Parts of, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Hunger (Paperback)
In 1890, Knut Hamsun, a man who included on his CV tram-conducting in New York and stock-taking in Lom, northern Norway, unleashed his first novel on an unsuspecting and complacent literary world.
Simply, it altered the direction of modern fiction.
This short novel marks the end of the grand Victorian novel, which had reached its existential capacity with Dostoyevsky, and greeted the dawn of modernism. Without Hamsun's first four novels, it can be argued that we wouldn't have had Kafka, Joyce or Hesse as we came to know them.
The novel itself charts the ebb and flow of thought and impulse through a central protagonaist (Tangen). I think this is the first recorded form of stream-of-consciousness, albeit in a less sophisticated form than it became some forty years later.
In the summer of 1890, Hamsun toured Norway, giving lectures on literature and what it should be. The literary climate was such that Ibsen was courted as one of the greatest European writers (no argument there) but Hamsun felt his work was only so much veiled metaphor and said nothing about the individual and the irrational side of humanity.
At the lecture in Christiania, sat in the front row as Hamsun tore into Ibsen's foibles, was Henrik Ibsen.
Ibsen's next play was "The Master Builder". A play which marked the onset of his last stylistic period, which was based upon the individual and human nature, rather than the social dramas which had projected him to fame.
Ibsen never won the Nobel prize for literature. Hamsun did.
And whilst this is a good book, it's not nearly as good as "Mysteries", his 1892 masterpiece, or "On Overgrown Paths", his final work.
Actually, I just urge you to read Hamsun in any form you find.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous, 21 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Hunger (Picador Books) (Paperback)
An extraordinary novel.
Its one of those books that makes you think! And think a lot.

Read this before about 15 years ago, but this time around it is much better
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Small book - big issues!, 11 Dec 2009
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This review is from: Hunger (Picador Books) (Paperback)
This book was a choice for our reading group. An easy read and well-written but difficult to 'enjoy'. I wouldn't want to read anything of Hamsum's again but am glad I have read this one. I was very frustrated with the main character who seemed unable to help himself and some of the scenes were harrowing. The characters were well drawn and I was so relieved when he finally sailed off into the sunset - at last!!
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Hunger (Picador Books) by Knut Hamsun (Paperback - 16 Jan 1976)
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