Petra's Reviews > Hunger

Hunger by Knut Hamsun
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Jul 15, 2010

it was amazing
Read from May 12 to June 06, 2012

A story of utter homelessness and poverty but not a story of woe and pity. Yikes….Hamsun doesn’t spare the reader any aspect of complete and utter poverty and hunger (starvation, actually). This isn’t a comfortable read. It certainly makes me look at homelessness and plight differently.
This is somewhat a study of keeping one’s humanity and morals through desperate, desperate times; of how one is treated and thought of as an impoverished person; of keeping one’s pride and uniqueness during the worst of conditions.
It’s also a look at how hunger (desperate, starving hunger) leads the mind to madness and hallucination and the battle to keep these at bay.
The unnamed protagonist isn’t always likeable and he, at times, doesn’t appear to help himself as much as he might; he sometimes seems to just “go with the flow” of the situation and live it without helping himself at all; in a sense, letting himself spiral more into destitution. However, I found that following him in his experience of homelessness and starvation, also gave an insight into how hopeless and out of control one can feel. In the end, who would feel comfortable being at the mercy of society and having society looking down on oneself? Wouldn’t we possibly all rail against this, if we had the energy to do so? Our protagonist rails against this demoralizing snubbing and he keeps his pride and self-worth intact. It causes him additional hardships, which he endures as the cost of keeping this integrity.
Wonderfully written; not always a comfortable read; not always a likeable protagonist; but well worth reading.
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07/21/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Fil (new) - rated it 4 stars

Fil No pressure Petra but I am expecting a 4 or 5 star rating, poop!


Petra LOL! Fil's funny! I'm enjoying this more and more as I go along. It's quite a story. (not feelin' the pressure at all, Fil......nope, for sure not.... :D )


message 3: by Sue (new) - added it

Sue Smith Great review Petra! I've run across others who have read it but your review put it on my TBR list!


Petra Thanks, Sue!
I wanted to take a star away because our guy can be frustrating and this is not a comfortable read but couldn't because...well.....it's kind of the point of the story.
I hope you find a copy. I'd love to read your thoughts on it. A friend lent me his copy 'cause I couldn't find one anywhere. I'm so glad he trusted me with his book. This was worth a read.


Julie I already had this on my to-read shelf but you make me want to read it more. For some reason I always seem to prefer an uncomfortable story about poor starving people over a story about well-off people. :-)


message 6: by Fil (new) - rated it 4 stars

Fil Wow Petra, your review makes me want to read it again.


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