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Sinners In Summertime Paperback – Jul 1 2003
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About the Author
Born in 1890 near Oslo, Norway, Sigurd Hoel was one of the leading literary and cultural voices of Norway in the first half of the twentieth century. His work as a novelist, journalist, editor, and literary and social critic demonstrated an interest in the psychological make-up of the mind matched at that time in Norway by only Henrik Ibsen and Knut Hamsun.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I was recently going through my later father's collection of books. Finding the 1930 edition of Sinners in Summertime, and intrigued by the title, I read it. This book was not written, or intended, as a satire.
A 2002 edition of this book (in the original translation by Elizabeth Springer and Claude Napier) was reviewed in Scandinavian Studies (2003, vol. 75, no. 1). The reviewer, Jan Sjavik, describes the characters as being "inspired by the writings of Sigmund Freud," though I would say they were more obsessed. Sjavik described the first-person narrator as reeking of "both misogyny and self-deception," to which I offer fervent agreement. He also noted that contemporary reviewers probably weren't "able to comprehend the irony of the author's presentation."
This seems to be true. This short review appeared in a university publication a year after the book was first published in 1930: "Coward-McCann publishes a naughtily sophisticated novel of young Norwegian intellectuals, Sinners in Summertime, by the clever young Oslo journalist-playwright Sigurd Hoel."
I enjoyed this book as an ironic exploration of what made young people tick in the 1920s. Even acknowledging its historical value, the constant sexism and smugness of the male characters made me feel as if I was slowly being weighed down with rocks. Those trying to read Sinners in Summertime as a satire will have an even harder time of it.