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4.3 out of 5 stars
Victoria (Condor Books)
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on 18 May 2014
Hamsun in my opinion is the father of the novel as we know it.In this short novel he brings two characters into the most unlikely relationship and then shatters everything ,it is impossible not to have a lump in the throat when you read the letter at the end of this story.
Hamsun didn't write a bad book this is a great place to start.Others I recommend,Mysteries,Pan,Chapter the Last and of course the Nobel prize winning Masterpiece Growth of the Soil.
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on 16 September 2010
This is one of Knut Hamsun's shorter novels but as with his other books there is so much in it, a story of young love, seperated by class and circumstances, interwoven with Hamsun's qualities as an outstanding writer. Anything by Hamsun is worth reading and this is no exception.
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on 9 January 2016
Exactly as described quick delivery
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on 8 January 2016
Knut Hamsun has sometimes been described as the Thomas Hardy of Scandinavian literature, and the theme of Victoria- love between two people of different social classes- is one which Hardy treated several times. Here the protagonists are Johannes, the son of a miller, and Victoria, the daughter of the local squire, who meet and fall in love as children. Although they continue to love one another throughout their lives, they are separated by circumstances and the story ends tragically.

The forces that conspire to thwart their love are more complex than simple snobbery or class-distinction. During the period in which the book is set (the 1890s), the marriage of an internationally successful author (which Johannes becomes in adult life) to the daughter of a minor nobleman would not have raised too many eyebrows in society. Although Victoria's family are aristocratic, however, they are not wealthy; indeed, they are in desperate financial straits and need to secure a financially advantageous marriage for their daughter to re-establish their fortunes and to restore the Castle, as their crumbling manor-house is called. She is therefore pressurised, much against her will, to become engaged to Otto, the son of a wealthy official at the Royal Court, even though she does not love him. Johannes also enters into an unsuccessful engagement with another woman; only at the end of the novel, when it is too late, do Victoria and Johannes discover how much they mean to each other.

This could easily be the plot of a Hardy novel, but Hamsun tells this story in a style which is very different to Hardy's. Hardy's novels are generally complex, discursive and with a large cast of characters both major and minor. Victoria is a very short novel (at 170 pages much shorter than any of Hardy's), told in a simple and direct manner and concentrating very much on the two lovers. The other characters are not developed in any detail, with the partial exception of Otto, who is presented as an arrogant and unpleasant lout.

Although the story is told in a straightforward manner, this does not mean that the prose is plain or unadorned. Although this is a third-person narrative, the action is mostly seen from the viewpoint of the poet Johannes and narrated in an appropriately poetic style. (This, at least, is the effect of Oliver Stallybrass's translation; I do not speak Norwegian so I cannot compare it with the original). The lyricism of the writing complements the pathos of the loves' plight; the result is a book that can be compared to a jewel, small, but beautiful and highly polished.
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on 4 September 2011
Knut Hamsun's Victoria is a captivating tale of young love. Johannes, the miller's son and Victoria, daughter of the lord of the manor share a friendship in their younger years and it is not too long before Victoria identifies Johannes as a kindred spirit. However, as their friendship continues through adolescence it becomes apparent that there are other circumstances that will challenge the love that they perceive exists between them. The differences in social class become more prominent as Victoria's family begin the search for a suitable suitor. She is persuaded to socialise more with people of her own status rather than the miller's son. Despite feeling rejected, Johannes still tries to retain his friendship with Victoria but there are too many external influence at play whose interests differ from those of the erstwhile friends. Hamsun's narrative explores the challenges the two main protagonists face as they attempt to distance themselves from each other but discover that they are inextricably linked by a history beyond their control. Despite the plot appearing simplistic in style at the beginning of the novel, the author keeps the reader in suspense throughout as differing episodes add to the complexity of Johannes and Victoria's relationship. The novel offers many thought provoking moments and is a pleasure to read and even though it was written in 1898 the storyline is still as pertinent today.
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on 8 March 2002
This was the first Hamsun book that i read and was probably a good place to start.
The story between the two lovers is at times tender, hurtful and humorous like all relationships. It is extremely well written despite the fact that (as the previous reviewer correctly stated)it is written in a simple childlike manner it doesn't take anything away from it, but only serves to enhance the relationship and add to the tragedy we see unfold.
We follow their story from their early childhood on the isalnd to the beginning of adulthood, and watch as they begin to tear each other apart, only to find that at the end they really couldn't live without each other.
It was a wonderful read and i will be sure to seek out more HAmsun in the future.
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on 17 September 2004
Knut Hamsun has for to long been judged by his actions during the war. His beliefs have led to his works being over looked, which is a shame as he is a unique talent. No other writer comes close to Hamsun, and this is one of his most emotive books from the many I have read. It captivated me from the first page with its wonderful array of characters and reduced me to tears by the end. I could not even begin to explain the quality of this book, but I have since read it through at least five times and its power has yet to decrease.
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on 26 November 2013
This book was a poor shadow of both Growth In The Soil and Hunger by the same Author. Victoria for me was one dimensional - perhaps if there had been sub-plots this would have given breadth and depth. Description was fairly evocative.
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on 15 July 2000
Before I say anything else, this is my favourite of the hundreds of books that I have read.
It is a love story written in a very simple, almost child-like style. But this serves only to heighten the sensitivity of feeling between the two main characters - brief encounters between two children.
It is a sad story, but only written this way, it felt, in order to enhance the feelings. To illuminate the intensity of emotion when love and beauty is glimpsed all too briefly, only to slip away like grains of sand through your fingers.
Whilst the book is not plausible in an absolute sense, it feels sufficiently real to retain your belief in the characters.
Neither before or after have I found a book that combined this level of plausibility and feelings of love...
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