on 24 September 2008
Knut Hamsun's sparse and sometimes unforgiving prose can take a little adjusting to, but the end result is so worth it, it almost defies belief. Pan is perhaps not as famous as Growth of the Soil or Hunger or even Mysteries, but it is a small gem of a book.
Set deep in the forests of Norway, it follows Lt. Glahn as he struggles to juggle his unity with nature and the feelings and experiences that defines humanity. The forest itself becomes a third character, the jealous lover that skulks in the shadows and can never be wholly ignored as a separate and sentient entity. The psychological stand-off between Thomas and Edwarda is effotlessly rendered exquisite, and the culmunation of the dichotomy of nature and man that Ghlan exemplifies is treated with compassion and tenderness.
This book is perfect for anyone with a passing interest in Scandinavia, great writers or who is just bored wih effusive, meaningless prose. Instant classic.
on 1 February 2012
First, I like the style, straightforward first-person narration, sometimes in the present tense, sometimes contemplative and poetic. Simple, but effective, a bit like Hermann Hesse, and definitely ahead of its time.
And the simple story is strangely compelling. Strange - yes it is that. Mysterious. The protagonists actions are sometimes hard to fathom and his relations with women are frustrating to me as reader. The poetic descriptions of Nature are good, and I would have liked a bit more of that.
The appendix section, 'Glahn's Death' seemed superfluous to me, and I think the book would have ended better without that. All in all though a haunting book that kept me turning the pages, and which now makes me want to explore some more of this writer's work.
on 9 September 2015
Classic Norwegian fiction, and I felt very relevant to today. Wasnt sure it would be readable, due to translation and style, but actually its a damn good read, with a great tragic story. I have bought more books by this author to read after this. He is very highly regarded in Norway, and I can see why.
on 26 May 2014
I like Knut Hamsun a lot, but I thought I'd warn other readers to avoid this edition at all costs, due to the bad translation. W.W.Worster translated this book over a hundred years ago, and although back then a literal translation may have been accepted, nowadays it feels outdated and forces at times, taking the attention of the reader away from the compelling plot of the book. Instead, look for Lyngstad's translation.