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Customer reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 11 May 2010
There's not much that can be said about this that hasn't been said about Hamsun's other work - and therein lies its flaw and its quality. The Ring... returns to many of Hamsun's common themes: the lonely, dispossesed wandering returning, ebbing, flowing, through the life of a community; that community's wider life; mismatched love; the communion of man and nature; the iconoclasm of the isolated individual; the willing material poverty of that person, yet the fullness of spirit and life. It's a very good book. It is a fantastic summing-up of all Hamsun's career, in fact, an ideal final novel: it crystallises most of his themes from previous novel (Hunger; Pan; Women at the Pump: Mysteries, etc). However there is about it that definite sense that there's nothing new here (and that's why it gets just the one star), even though it is all beautifully brought together.

For Hamsun fans, definitely buy it. You know what you're going to get from Hamsun, and this doesn't dissapoint in that regard. For initiates I suppose it's also a pretty good overview and starting point as well. His writing is charming, his characters are also, his sensitivities are also very appealing. I'm very glad I stumbled upon his masterpiece, Hunger, a few years ago. The Ring is Closed is a very good novel, but isn't that fresh. But it's not that much of a problem.
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on 4 July 2016
An excellent translation of the book which Hamsun intended to be his last. In this novel he returns somewhat to the style of his earlier novels (Hunger, Mysteries, Pan) and at 77 had lost none of his powers. One of the great writers.
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on 19 February 2016
Such an important novel and yet sad to see so many printing errors in the translation....
'Abel was standing stood down below laughing'
'He climbed down into his boat, bailed it out boat, and rowed home'
And this just after 10 pages, and so it goes on.
Quite annoying.
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on 1 March 2011
As the other reviewer says, this has much in common with other Hamsun books, and is recommended to fans. It's a rather long and meandering tale, though, and could have done with a little editing. The main character drifts in and out of the book without really generating the sympathy other Hamsun heroes do, and there's little real sense of time passing - though the book covers a considerable timespan. It still has great charm, though, and it's nice to find a Hamsun novel I've not read!

My main beef about this book is the fact that there are no speech marks. Whether this was down to Hamsun himself or is his translator trying to inject some trendiness into the book I don't know. Suffice to say that this style does not occur in the other dozen Hamsun books I have, and if it was meant to make it trendy it simply made it a mess. Not enough to spoil the book - just enough to irritate!
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