Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Review: HUNGER by Knut Hamsun (Rebel Inc.)

This is one of the most disturbing books I've ever read. It makes me think of THE STRANGER by Albert Camus but the style is entirely different. Most of the book is made up mostly of internal dialogue and that is definitely Hamsun's strength. In the forward says that he criticized modern (published in 1890) literature for it's lack of understanding of the "unconscious life of the mind." He said that "Truth is neither objectivity nor the balanced view; truth is a selfless subjectivity." The story is about a young writer living in Kristiania(now Oslo) who has fallen on hard times and slowly falls into poverty, hunger and homelessness. The hero of the story is a selfish, foolish, paranoia fueled madman...and the most interesting thing about it is how he justifies it all to himself. His hunger makes him desperate, makes his thoughts spin out of control and his emotions turn from extreme happiness to deep depression and back again on the turn of dime. The plot is not complex and it's not action packed but his writing style is incredible and very unique. I usually like somewhat light reading for the road and this is definitely not that. Highly recommended.

3 Comments:

Blogger Cesare said...

It is a really fascinating book, definitely for it's time. I've grown to really enjoy Kurt Hamsun's literary achievements,and I agree that the writing style and structure is very unique.Check out some of his other novels, I really liked MYSTERIES, it's a bit lighter than HUNGER, but still staying true to Hamsun's style.

Sorry for the rambling,I'm just glad people have read this book cause it's wonderful, nice blog though!

9:06 PM  
Blogger Witness said...

Don't apologize for the rambling! Isn't that the point?

7:21 AM  
Blogger Cesare said...

Oh and P.S. I just finished reading this book by Octave Mirbeau who was a French anarchist, pretty interesting dude, it's called "The torture garden", basically equally disturbing to Hunger, but completely different in terms of content and literary stylings, but really interesting stuff.

2:01 AM  

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