Fionnuala's Reviews > Victoria

Victoria by Knut Hamsun
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Jan 25, 15

bookshelves: translated-from-norweigian
Read from April 30 to May 06, 2012

The odds were that I wouldn't like this book. It had many of the features I found fault with in the contemporary bestseller "One Day" by David Nicholls: a frustrating main character who falls deeply and irrevocably in love with someone clearly unsuitable who doesn't initially return his regard; many occasions when the pair might have come together but were prevented by misunderstandings and other frustrating circumstances; in short, too much melodrama right up to the very end. So why did I like it so much? The simplicity of the style, the poetic quality of the writing and the intensity of the hero's emotional life. I will definitely read more of Hamsun's work.
A small share in my positive response must go to the fine presentation of this Condor Book, the full colour reproduction of 'Moonlight' by Edvard Munch on the cover, the high quality paper, the bold font and the broad margins which reduce the words per page and make the reading experience very pleasant indeed.
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Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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message 1: by Anastasia (new)

Anastasia Hobbet I've read much of his stuff since coming to Norway. Don't miss Hunger, which is his best, I think. I didn't think I'd like this book at all, a plotless, hopeless narrative about an aimless, itinerant writer in Victorian-era Oslo, a cold and dreary place for poor people. But the writing yanks you in and won't let you out again. It took the Norwegians decades to get over Hamsun's very public adoration of the Nazis, but the quality of his fiction has won out and he's well-regarded here again.


Fionnuala Thanks for that information, Anastasia. I was indeed wondering how Hamsun is viewed in Norway today and if anyone there was still reading his work. I will look out for Hunger.


message 3: by Anastasia (new)

Anastasia Hobbet More info here: http://hamsunsenteret.no/en/the-hamsu...

I hope to see this museum before we return to California. The building looks spectacular.


Fionnuala The architecture of the Hamsun Centre is very impressive.


message 5: by Ben (new)

Ben Winch Just a reminder of his other 2 brilliant early novels: Mysteries and Pan, both easily the equal of Hunger in my opinion and both of which elaborate on the thwarted romance of Victoria. For me, these were life-changing books.


message 6: by Kalliope (new)

Kalliope I was unaware of this writer. Thank you. Today I was precisely reviewing the notes I took last year on a lecture on Munch.


Fionnuala I got to see a retrospective of Munch's life and work at the Tate in London during the summer and it was a very stimulating experience. Like Hamsun, Munch continually worked on the same few themes, but with startling variations. Interesting.


Fawad Khan There's another lesser known novel by Hamsun, WOMEN AT THE PUMP. It's also a beautiful novel. The journey of its main character Oliver and the story of the town itself is, how should I say, a real tribute to the human spirit that knows how to survive despite everything.


Fionnuala Fawad wrote: "There's another lesser known novel by Hamsun, WOMEN AT THE PUMP. It's also a beautiful novel. The journey of its main character Oliver and the story of the town itself is, how should I say, a real ..."

Thank you for commenting, Fawad. I haven't made the time to read more Hamsun but when I do, I will look for the title you mentioned and the ones mentioned earlier by Ben - thanks Ben - I somehow missed your comment the time.


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