Hunger Paperback – Mar 1 1998
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"The whole modern school of fiction in the twentieth century stems from Hamsun. They were all Hansun's disciples: Thomas Mann and Arthur Schnitzler . . . and even such American writers as Fitzgerald and Hemingway." --Isaac Bashevis Singer
"After reading Hunger, one can easily understand why Hamsun was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Hunger should appeal to any reader who is interested in a masterpiece by one of this century's great novelists." --James Goldwasser, Detroit News
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Top Customer Reviews
As I would assume the Norwegian sources are a bit more correct than whatever sources you have, I hope this is helpfull.
"In real life he was ostracized by his countrymen and the literary community as a result of his radical individualism, and political/social views."
No, Hamsun was not ostracized from his countrymen before the war, he was actually looked upon as quita a hero. Which made his downfall much greater when he, during the war, supported the Nazi occupation forces. His social and political views were really not uncommon among his countrymen, nor actually by his fellow authors before the war, even though few were so extreme as he turned out to be.
"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. Neddless to say, when WWII was over, he dearly paid the price: imprisonment, confiscation, and poverty."
Actually, he was no friend of Hitler. Were the reviewer found this "fact" beats the hell out of me. He met Hitler once, and those of us that actually pay attention to the history books know that this meeting was anything but succesfull. And Goebbels? That is simply preposterous!
Now Jews, Hamsun never uttered a word against the jews. He actually had several jew friends, and try to find Hamsun critisizing the jews once in all his works (including the articles he wrote for the Nazi occupational newspaper.)
Did Knut Hamsun go to jail? No, not exactly.Read more ›
But it would be my assumption that most fans of this novel have experienced, at least to some degree, the agony of the narrator and the special brand of isolation he experiences.
If any of us have had periods in our lives where we actually knew *no one at all*--in a quite literal sense, by some quirk of fate or circumstance, we know precisely what the main character is experiencing. His seeming determination to drive himself insane is a facade: he is actually a lonely man seeing the world through the filmy, pessimistic lens of a COMPLETELY lonely man. When one is bereft of any contact beyond the slightest acquaintances, the most minute events become magnified to an absurd proportion and if anyone could get inside our heads for a matter of more than five minutes they would realize that something was grotesquely, horribly wrong. Obsessive thought patterns often result from this kind of loneliness which is not only oppressive but all encompassing: it usually starts with social anxiety and blows up into a cartoonish nightmare of the most paltry sensations become gargantuan. His joy over even the slightest contact with another human being is pathetic indeed, but revelatory of his complete isolation. I would not agree that this is manic depression or anything of the sort, but Hamsun's masterful articulation of the oscillating moods which occur when a human being becomes neurosis itself and fears everything. Hamsun has accomplished in this novel what centuries of literature have been unable to do: to articulate the inarticulate. For anyone who has actually felt like a ghost, a phantasm, this is the book for you. (Or not for you, if you would prefer to simply move on and forget the horrendous experience.) A masterpiece.
For the nameless young writer, clothes falling apart, existing precariously on the brink of starving to death, evicted from his room when rental payments lapsed, not knowing where his next mouthful of food will come from, pawning the vest off his back (but making rash, extravagant handouts as soon as he comes into any money), each day represents a vast desert of dead and empty time in which he wanders, lost, blown about the streets of the city like a paper in the wind, dogged by unremitting hunger - with brief periods of respite when his starvation is temporarily quelled with what little money he makes flogging the odd article to a local newspaper. In his drastically weakened state, on the verge of physical collapse, unable to eat without throwing up, only able to write in patches, the young writer begins to lose his reason, his irrational state of mind marked by wild impulses and violent mood swings as he slips into paranoia and despair.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
this is my favorite knut hamsun book. it's raw, real, and everything else that makes a book good. it's an easy read, and i finished it in a day or two. Read morePublished on Jan. 16 2008 by T. Bigney
Avoiding all the obvious comments about Hamsun's fascist (for fascist read Nazi) sympathies and his importance in an historical literary context etc. Read morePublished on May 20 2004 by marty mcfly
A butchering, if I may say so, of an outstanding work. Do yourself a favor and pick up the Sverre Lyngstad translation published by Penguin!!!Published on March 27 2004 by Weltschmerz
Here we have a classic Norwegian tale of a literally starving writer in 1890's Oslo (Christiana) who somehow often keeps his humor while at times going for as long as three days... Read morePublished on Feb. 8 2004 by Hans Castorp
Hunger is a haunting book in many ways, and I was immediately drawing comparisons to other recent novels I've read including, Post Office by Charles Bukowski, The Losers' Club by... Read morePublished on Jan. 4 2004
This book by Knut Hamsun makes my Top Five favorite books. I picked up this book only because I heard that he had influenced writers like Kafka and Camus which I admire greatly. Read morePublished on Oct. 14 2003 by David Vidaurre
Some of the most courageous, liveliest and wittiest comment on social life that has ever been written.Published on Oct. 13 2003
This is the first and only novel that I have read by Hamsun thus far, but it wont be my last. I had owned this book for quite some time before one day recently I finally pulled it... Read morePublished on Sept. 10 2003
There are a lot of writers that get propelled to classic status and the modern reader is left to ponder why. Read morePublished on Aug. 11 2003