Hunger ("Rebel Inc") Paperback – 1 May 1998
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"Hunger is the crux of Hamsun's claims to mastery. This is the classic novel of humiliation, even beyond Dostoevsky" (Observer)
"One of the most disturbing novels in existence" (Time Out)
"An excellent new translation . . . this Hunger deserves to be the standard English version" (Times Literary Supplement)
"Hamsun has the qualities that belong to the very great, a complete omniscience on human nature" (Rebecca West)
"Disturbing and difficult as this nightmarish novel is, it is a work of imaginative brilliance that resonates in our own day" (Herald)
"Hunger is undoubtedly one of the most important novels of the modern age. At last it has found a translator capable of doing justice to its immense power and complexity: Lyngstad's deserves to become the standard English version" (Duncan McClean) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
With an introduction by Jo Nesbø and an Afterword by Paul Auster --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Stunning in its delivery, Hunger is one of the few books that has the ability to truly touch your soul. What makes the novel so intense is not the storyline; for the most part the story is devoid of plot. Rather the sense of sympathy and desperation one feels for the main character (a struggling writer on a psychological roller-coaster ride, stricken by poverty, who always seems as though he is about to draw his final breath), is, for me, the novel's crowning glory. This mechanism of `survival doubt' is superlatively engineered into the story by Mr. Hansum. There are times, usually at the start of a new `chapter' when the writer's survival seems assured (he himself proclaims many times that his latest work will be the one that end his dificulties). Inevitably however, the character's situation diminishes, and the reader's confidence can do nothing but diminish along with it, until, through some fortune turn of events, the main player draws himself back, if usually only temporarily, from the `abyss'.
As intense as Hunger is (and it really is intense at times, with the writer's moods elevating and lowering as often as the paragraphs change), I also found the novel to be quite humourous in parts.Read more ›
It is a plot less novel, the setting is Christiana (now Oslo), and the main character is a starving, homeless young journalist, with a mercurial personality. His reactions have no middle term, he moves from extreme joy to acute depression, from arrogance to humility, on the verge of irrationality. It clearly reflects the author's early poverty, his pathological passion with aesthetical beauty, and an enormous driving force to perfect his concept that "language must resound with all the harmonies of music." "Hunger" anticipates Freud and Jung in their understanding of human nature, and creates a new literally hero, the alienated mind.
Of Norwegian nationality, Knut Hmsun won the Nobel Price for Literature in 1920. In real life he was ostracized by his countrymen and the literary community as a result of his radical individualism, and political/social views. Yes, Hamsun was a convicted Nazi, friend of Hitler and Goebbels, an advocate of the "pure" race (Jews should be expelled from Europe, Blacks should be returned to Africa), and he applauded German invasion of Norway. Needless to say, when WWII was over, he dearly paid the price: Imprisonment, confiscation, and poverty.Read more ›
The writing is so vivid that it is impossible not to be completely drawn in. On a number of occasions the narrator takes what he perceives to be 'moral decisions' which left me furious with him - he would rather starve than betray his conscience - and I actually found myself trying to reason with him. At times I had to put the book down so infuriated was I with his actions - I think I was going through the anguish of hunger with him and when he had a chance to get food and passed it up, it was more than I could bear!
At other times I was captivated by the humour and eccentricity of the book ... the narrator's mood swings, delusions and interactions with others make for very entertaining passages.
I highly recommend this book - it is both disturbing and memorable and I know it will stay with me for a long time.
Hamsun's sets his novel in what used to be the capital of Norway, namely Kristiania. We follow the story, which is almost like a memoir, of the almost nameless first person narrator as he wanders about the city mainly hungry and in a state of penury. I say almost nameless narrator because later in the novel he does offer a name to a number of people he meets - he calls himself Andrea Tangen. However, we are never sure whether to take him at his word and believe that he gives a correct name. Every now and again our narrator makes a living by writing articles for a newspaper. He inspires to be a writer. In his wanderings he encounters a number of people and situations almost as if to suggest that these encounters are propositions to test his moral scruples. On his wanderings he eventually meets and becomes partly preoccupied with a young girl whom he calls Ylajali.
It is said that Hamsun's novel had an influence on modernist writers such as James Joyce. The hallmarks are clearly there in the novel that would allow one to make such a claim. For example, as stated above, there is little or no plot and structure.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book blew me away, the translation was terrific and I couldn't put the book down from start to finish. Read morePublished 6 months ago by MelPryor
A wonderfully dark book by an author who reminds me of Dostoyevsky.Published 7 months ago by Kevin Amatt
This book has stayed with me for many years with snippets coming back to me at many moments throughout my life. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Dillicent
Book Group choice. Couldn't get into it and it doesn't seem that anyone else in the group could either. Won't be reading him again!Published on 30 Jan. 2014 by Kindle Customer
"Hunger" is a novel where almost none of the characters have names. The first person narrator, veering wildly and sometimes uncontrollably between present and past tense,... Read morePublished on 26 Jan. 2014 by Bela Lugosi's Still Dead
Aspiring writers would do well to read this book in order to gain some insight of what to expect. The clue is in the title. Read morePublished on 10 Dec. 2013 by Gurjit
This intense portrayal of a destitute writer suffering extreme hunger evokes empathy for the human condition of destitution, and demonstrates the psychosomatic reality that our... Read morePublished on 2 Oct. 2013 by Geoff Crocker
Simply the greatest book ever written. So much so that I have now read this several times and it gets better each time.Published on 26 July 2013 by Ross Whitehead