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4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  20,193 ratings  ·  1,302 reviews
Written after Hamsun's return from an ill-fated tour of America, Hunger is loosely based on the author's own impoverished life before his breakthru in 1890 & set in fin-de-siècle Kristiania (now Oslo). The novel recounts the adventures of a starving young man, whose sense of reality is giving way to a delusionary existence on the darker side of a modern metropolis. Whi ...more
Paperback, 253 pages
Published August 31st 2006 by Canongate Books (first published 1890)
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Mar 06, 2012 s.penkevich rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who can read
Recommended to s.penkevich by: The poetry of Charles Bukowski
I often catch myself staring, rather lovingly in fact, at my bookshelves. Each shelf is swelling nearly to the point of overflowing with books, each authors collection seemingly positioned at random - yet, somehow, the location of each work holds some secret form of order that is beyond even me. I'll caress each spine with my eyes, occasionally running a finger down it to feel a spark of retrospection and for a moment recall the times when I held a particular book during the course of absorbing ...more

Discombobulated…frenzied…distracted…rambling…and oh so BRILLIANT.

Knut Hamsun's fevered, stream of consciousness classic is something special. Unwaveringly "in the now," this novel's every word felt as if it had fallen from the narrator's mind, unfiltered, unrestrained, and unreflected upon. Wow, was this something. The unnamed narrator, with his exaggerated and unjustified notions of his own superiority reminded me a lot of Raskolnikov from Crime and Punishment, while the disjointed style and u
Lynne King
Last night the “fog” finally left me as effortlessly as it had arrived seven months ago. My mourning period was now officially over, although the good memories would be firmly entrenched forever in my mind, as well as the sad ones. I shed my widow’s weeds. Also the tears surprisingly enough poured for the first time in ages. I certainly do not have a weak character. I had been in the doldrums and was not progressing, nor “turning the page”. Knut showed me via “Hunger” (Norwegian: “Sult”) that on ...more
Ademilson Moraes
This is the affirmation of Hamsun's writing style and also his first literary success. It's easy to notice on this book a great effort to transmit the essence of his soul on his writing, resulting in the final product being more memorable than his own life. Long story short: the protagonist starves and struggles against really cold weather, all because he does not have enough money to make a living out of writing (or maybe he hasn't enough talent to make a living out of it?). Roaming about Oslo' ...more
Oct 07, 2015 Seemita rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bravehearts treading the less-stocked path
A review of this book from my pen is akin to injustice. After all, what do I know of hunger? Something that loses its meaning with a hop to the kitchen? A need that vanishes with the stair-climbing to the canteen? A routine that knocks every four hours, only to be dispatched back to its den with a pouring of necessary and unnecessary stuff? A fuel that is available at an arm’s length? A six-lettered word that assumes greater importance in symbolic garb than its bare attire?

I have been fortunate.
Ahmed Oraby
راسكولنيكوف آخر؟

لا أعلم لماذا تذكرت راسكولنيكوف هذا، بطل رواية الجريمة والعقاب للمُعلم العظيم؛ فيودور دوستويفسكي، حين شرعت في قراءة هذي الرواية.!
فبمجرد أن قرأت فقط ما يقارب العشر صفحات منها حتى أدركت ذلك، وفعلًا قرأت فيما بعد أن كنوت، نفسه، قد أقر بأنه استلهم قصة بطله هذا من رواية الجريمة والعقاب للحبيب "دوستويفسكي".

قد يرجع هذا لتشابه شخصيتيهما؟ نفس البؤس، نفس الوظيفة، بل، نفس العبقرية؟
كنوت هَمسون، هذا الروائي الذي، لجهلي، لم أسمع عنه من قبل أبدًا، إلا من فترة يسيرة للغاية، نذرت حينها لله و
Amira Mahmoud

حسنًا، هي رواية أخرى من تلك الروايات الجنونية المرعبة
الرواية بأكملها أشبه بحالة من الهذيان!
تشعر وكأنك تقفز بين السطور بسرعة جنونية
كلّ فصل هو رحلة معاناة تلهث فيها مع البطل ولا تستطيع التوقف للحظة واحدة حتى نهاية الرحلة ( الفصل )، حينها ما تلبث أن تتوقف لتسترد أنفاسك حتى تبدأ رحلة جديدة وفصل جديد لا تستطيع منع نفسك من الخوض فيهما

هنا لا يتحدث عن الجوع بل عن تأثيره
يعكس من خلال بطل روايته صورة مرعبة عن تأثير الجوع والفقر
كيف وضعه في حالة من الوهن الدائم والضعف والهزال، بوجه وجسد مرعب لا يمت للبشر ب
Mar 29, 2012 Mariel rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: you dropped your books
Recommended to Mariel by: s.pen and manny
I have a confession to make. Well, it's not really a confession if I've alluded to it in the past. I'm cheap. I spend freely, I mean, and it doesn't take much convincing for me to go ahead and make some purchase (especially if it's a book) when I really shouldn't. Don't ever take me shopping in hopes that I'll convince you not to make that purchase, either. So I downloaded the free kindle version of this. I have too many books and I do that shit anyway. I think there's something wrong with the k ...more
Rakhi Dalal
This powerful work of writing by Knut Hamsun, clearly lets you think what the state of ‘hunger’ can do to a human being. Yes, by ‘hunger’, the author does really refer to the state of starvation in the absence of food. This idea of ‘hunger’, which looks like just another figure when it makes its appearance in one’s view in the form of some statistics, something which the well-to do people cannot even imagine about, is the essential sketch of this extremely thought provoking work by Hamsun.

mai ahmd

لم أكن أقرأ بل كنتُ ألهث هذا ما يفعله الكاتب كنوت هامبسون في رواية الجوع يجعلك تلهث كأنك تجري في سباق تسابق بطل الرواية فقط لتمسك به تود لو إنك تهزه وأنت تصرخ توقف ! هل كان هو الجوع فقط أمم إنه الذريعة لكل هذا المس الجنوني والتصرفات الخارجة عن السيطرة كل هذا الهذيان هذا التطرف في الأفكار هذا الغضب هذه السخرية وهذاالكبرياء!

اللعبة في الرواية إن جاز لي تسميتها بذلك كانت تكمن في الحالة النفسية التي خلفها الجوع أو لعله العكس تماما كما بدا لي أحيانا .. هذاالرجل جائع لحد الموت ومغررو أيضا بصفاقة ولا أد
I'm pretty lucky, I guess; I've been middle-class all my life, never had to worry about where my next meal was coming from or if there would be a next meal. I've never known starvation, despite saying stuff like "I'm starving!" when it's a half-hour past lunchtime and I haven't eaten yet. So why do I identify with the undernourished protagonist of Hunger so strongly? Perhaps it's because I'm an introvert; like the protagonist, I sometimes have internal conversations with myself in the third pers ...more
Very reminiscent of a couple of books I have already read, including Orwell's "Down and Out in Paris and London." Very dire account of a starving writer trying to find work and food at the same time.

Especially interesting to me was the fact that the protagonist still valued maintaining his dignity over everything else.

His interior dialogue was definitely reminiscent of Job speaking to God in the Old Testament.

I liked the archaic style the book was written in. Case in point was the word "zound
Started reading the original Norwegian edition today. I'm fluent in Swedish but don't really know Norwegian, though I have read maybe half a dozen Norwegian books. Comparing with English, it's rather like reading something in broad Scots dialect that's been written down phonetically. Iain Banks fans will be able to relate.

So far, it's pretty good, but I'm only 15 pages into it.


I come down the main staircase of the hotel. At reception, Zenit,
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Jul 01, 2015 Mary rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mary by: charles bukowski
He sure would like a meal, yes, but more so, why won’t anybody listen? What the hell is wrong with everyone? None of them are truly getting it. They don’t understand the urgency! Look at them in their warm clothes and their comfortable houses. Why do their eyes laugh at him? Is there nothing left but mockery? I wonder how he came to be in such circumstances. What led to this downward spiral? Even if I could ask him, could he even explain it? None of us can pinpoint the moment when it all started ...more
Suggestions for Further Reading
Translator's Note


Explanatory Notes
Textual Notes
K.D. Absolutely
Mar 07, 2010 K.D. Absolutely rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books, 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die
Shelves: 1001-core, 501
By Jove! This novel is beautifully depressing! It is beautiful because of the way it is written: magical stream-of-consciousness style with the meager plot and with no misplaced or excess words at all! It is depressing because of the theme: hunger. It is not hunger for love or something. It is the hunger that most Filipinos know: hunger for food.

The novel, originally written in German and first published in 1890, revolves around a struggling writer in Christiana (now Oslo). Herr Hamsun did not n
Ian Agadada-Davida
Hunger Eats the Soul

This is not so much the story of the rise and fall of a young man (published in 1890), as one of his relentless physical and spiritual decline.

He never seems to have risen in the first place, and his fall seems to be unimpeded, even though momentarily it seemed that love might redeem him.

In the absence of consummation, hope or redemption, the novel eschews any dramatic tension that an Aristotelian three act structure might offer, and simply plummets downwards.

Early, the prota
A wiser man than me (read: Chris Rock) once said, "If a homeless person has a funny sign, he hasn't been homeless that long. A real homeless person is too hungry to be funny." But what happens when you've just become homeless, when you tell yourself you'll spend just one or two nights outside, before your clothes have become tattered, and before hunger has completely set in?

Knut Hamsun's first novel, Hunger, published in 1890, reads like a play-by-play of one man's descent into poverty and insa
Emilian Kasemi
Sep 12, 2012 Emilian Kasemi rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Dostoevsky, Kafka, Fante, Bukowski, Celine
Hunger was immediately added to my favorite shelf! With other precious books I love the most!
As the title may suggest, this is a book about hunger. But not the collective hunger as we are used to know. But rather the individual hunger, told in the first person. Hunger is the description of the loss of the human being against the absurdity of the modern world in its cold and real ruthlessness.
The protagonist, weakened and exasperated, has increased in its extreme his sensitivity and the ability t
Like apparently so many others, my love of Bukowski led me to Knut Hamsun, particularly this short but harrowing piece. In Buk's poem "you might as well kiss your ass goodbye," my literary hero asks one of his own, "Sir.... that first novel, did you really eat your own / flesh as a young writer? were you that / hungry?," leaving me to ask how can one NOT give in to curiosity when presented with bait that's so temptingly flavored with desperation and meat of the scribe? Besides, reading the very ...more
Dato che la situazione è una matassa più ingarbugliata del solito, comincio da lontano; mi dispiace ma non posso fare altrimenti.

Mio padre aveva venti anni e studiava a Roma. Leggeva un sacco. Un libro a notte, da quanto mi racconta, anche se dubito che sia vero. Comunque, racconta che un giorno aveva voglia di qualcosa di diverso, che non fosse un Classico, che fosse qualcosa di potente e di eccitante; allora il commesso gli diede Bukowski.

Una decina di anni fa ero imbambolata davanti alla libr
Mohit Parikh
Dec 04, 2011 Mohit Parikh rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Mohit by: Tanuj Solank
I would rate Hunger as the second greatest novel I have read, the greatest being Joyce's Portrait. This is how novels Ought to be written - describing, in Hamsun's own words, "the whisper of the blood, and the pleading of the bone marrow".

In Hunger, he embodies an unnamed young protagonist, most likely an immediate version of himself (he was 28 when the book was published), and comes out with a haunting sketch of life which shakes reader to his/her core - even a callous reader reading solely for
Wow. That was powerful. I have to write a lot of reviews this weekend - this will be one of them.

I find it ironic that I read this while the RNC circus is going on in FL. I wish I could force everyone there to read this book and live it. just for a short while.
Dec 05, 2012 Gloria rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Gloria by: Rod

Admittedly, not my favorite style when it's time to be engrossed in a story. Hamsun, however, managed not only to keep my attention, but to physically feel each and every one of his character's pangs of hunger.
I once fasted for 21 days. The gnawing emptiness one feels is incomparable. However, unlike Hamsun's character (and Hamsun himself, as we're led to believe this is largely an autobiographical tale), I had at my disposal clean water, juice, tea ... and, of course, th
Jan 14, 2014 Kyle rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kyle by: s.penkevich
Shelves: favorites
Relentless, is probably the adjective that best describes this book. A relentless descent into madness and starvation; not only the driving physical starvation, but a starvation of the mind and the soul. A starvation for purpose and self-worth, a starvation that overtakes everything and bursts through the barriers of rationality. There is no break from our hero's destitution, and the pathetically small slices of relief he receives are like quick gasps of air that merely prolong the drowning proc ...more
Gastam-se as palavras pela fricção dos sentimentos. Encontro-as bambas no chão, sustidas pela minha força de vontade, pelo meu entusiasmo, pela minha admiração, mas consumidas pela minha impotência e inépcia: eu quero escrever acerca de Fome , mas não tenho estômago...

Knut Hamsun ancora esta narrativa numa escrita soberba, acetinada, embriagante! Foram frequentes, quase contínuos, os momentos em que pasmei perante esta obra de grande e merecida estimação – o início da preciosa literatura do s
Carmo Santos
Em tantos anos de leituras, esta foi a primeira vez que li Knut Hamsun. Devia ser multada!

Foi um livro que me desarmou e um autor que muito me recordou alguns colegas russos: Dostoiévski pela exposição nua e cortante do pior da condição humana, e Tolstoi - passei o tempo a lembrar-me d'"A Morte de Ivan Ilych" e a sentir a aflição comum às duas obras.
De facto é uma leitura que nos esmaga, tão perturbadora que por vezes, a tortura emocional extravasa e passa a um mal-estar físico. Aí, claro, o mér
لو كتب دوستييڤسكي رواية الجوع لأصبحت، على الأقل، أربع أضعاف الحجم الذي كتبه هامسون، ولن تحتوي تلك الإضافة على ما سيضيف حقًا للنص. وليس هذا استنقاصًا بالمعلم دوستييڤسكي، أكثر من كونه مديح لهامسون، وقدرته الفائقة على سرد نص بهذا العمق والكثاقة معًا.

بطل الرواية يملك واحدة من أعظم التركيبات السيكلوجية المعقدة التي قرأتها في الأدب عمومًا.
A Kafka theme told in a Dostoevsky voice.

This novel reminds me again how thankful I am that I've never had to go to bed hungry once in my life. In the whole of human history, what small percentage of people are able to make that claim?
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Awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1920 "for his monumental work, Growth of the Soil." He insisted that the intricacies of the human mind ought to be the main object of modern literature, to describe the "whisper of the blood, and the pleading of the bone marrow". Hamsun pursued his literary program, debuting in 1890 with the psychological novel Hunger.
More about Knut Hamsun...
Growth of the Soil Pan: From Lieutenant Thomas Glahn's Papers Mysteries Victoria The Wanderer

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“...I will exile my thoughts if they think of you again, and I will rip my lips out if they say your name once more. Now if you do exist, I will tell you my final word in life or in death, I tell you goodbye.” 208 likes
“I suffered no pain, my hunger had taken the edge off; instead I felt pleasantly empty, untouched by everything around me and happy to be unseen by all. I put my legs up on the bench and leaned back, the best way to feel the true well-being of seclusion. There wasn't a cloud in my mind, nor did I feel any discomfort, and I hadn't a single unfulfilled desire or craving as far as my thought could reach. I lay with open eyes in a state of utter absence from myself and felt deliciously out of it.” 100 likes
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