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Lucky Per

4.46  ·  Rating details ·  825 ratings  ·  81 reviews
Lucky Per, written at the turn from the nineteenth to the twentieth century (1898-1904), has never before been translated into English, although its author, Henrik Pontoppidan, won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1917 together with his Danish countryman Karl Adolph Gjellerup. Indeed, Pontoppidan's novel was singled out by writers like Thomas Mann and Georg Lucacs as semi ...more
Paperback, 558 pages
Published October 6th 2010 by Peter Lang Inc., International Academic Publishers (first published 1898)
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Judith I had no complaints with the Lebowitz translation, but when I read her "Translator's Afterword," a tangled hyperbolic knot of academic prose on the li…moreI had no complaints with the Lebowitz translation, but when I read her "Translator's Afterword," a tangled hyperbolic knot of academic prose on the literary & theological influences upon Pontoppidan, I began to wonder. I have no idea about the other translation, bought this one after reading the Wood review.(less)
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Average rating 4.46  · 
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Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It’s a complete mystery to me why this book isn’t better known and why it hasn’t taken its place amongst the canon of great European novels. It wasn’t translated into English until 2010, and with that translation and now with a new one in 2018 under the title of A Fortunate Man perhaps it will gain a wider readership. It certainly deserves to. Its author Henrik Pontoppidan (1857-1943) was an acclaimed Danish author but is little known outside his native land – although in 1917 he was awarded, al ...more
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have been with my boyfriend for more than 10 years. We met when we were in our late 20s and have often talked about, how I probably wouldn’t have liked him if we had met each other earlier.
This is how I feel about Lykke-Per, the protagonist.
He is not very like able, necessarily, for great parts of the book but he is so very young, with all the flaws this implies. He is not always very nice to the people around him, only if they can be if use to him. He is very selfish and mostly wish to promo
Adam Frederik
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful by an extremely empathetic, razor sharp and witty writer. We have still to tackle many of the problems in our society and in ourselves that Per personifies. Highly recommended (English version available).
Jazzy Lemon
Aug 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pontoppidan won the Nobel in 1917, and this book was only recently translated. Like Pontoppidan, Per lives in Jutland, Denmark. More than just a bildungsroman, it encompasses his life, dreams, and plans for the future of his country. Written in beautiful prose, this book explores religion and social justice as we follow the journeys of Lucky Per.
Bob Brinkmeyer
Jun 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the second Danish novel I’ve read lately and, as in my other review, I’m going to bring a distinctly American literature perspective to what I have to say, American literature what I know best (at least in terms of literature). Anyway, Pontoppidan is certainly better known in Europe than in the US, despite having won the Nobel Prize in 1917 and despite having many of the most important European modernists as admirers.

Originally published in 1898, Lucky Per looks forward to the coming of
I feel the exact same way about Lucky Per as I do about War and Peace. Despite stumbling upon nuggets of brilliance here and there and enjoying exquisite depictions of times and customs long gone, I was never really swept off my feet. And just as with War and Peace, the amount of what felt like filler proved staggering. I realize that I lack both regional knowledge and academic training to wholly grasp everything Lucky Per has to offer: if a little late in the game, the translator’s afterword, a ...more
ReemK10 (Paper Pills)
I don't know what to make of this novel. Definitely interesting, but something was off. I had to put the book down and pick it up much later, so that may have interfered with my reading. It may just be that I was a shallow reader of this novel. If you read the translator's afterword, you will surely want to read " one of the greatest novels of European literature."
Tod Wodicka
Mar 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Now here is a book I almost gave up on numerous times over the first 100 or so pages; even setting it aside for a few weeks. Eventually I picked it up again, I don't know why. I like the cover. Turned out to be one the greatest novels I've read. Talk about accumulative effect. It's left a certain part of me reeling.
Like the star rating subtitle says so accurately: "It was ok".
Jakobe is worth at least one star for being one of the best written female characters in the part of classic Danish literature that I have read. I love that she gets her completely own arc, so that we can see the story from her viewpoint even when Per isn't there.

Which brings me to my main complaint: not only is Per an increasingly unlikable character (I've read books before where that didn't bother me) but he is also dull. I had no i

Visit the locations in the novel

Translated novels are always interesting to read. When one is 100 years old and has a new translation, it’s worth more than a brief glance.

Lucky Per seems to be a simple title, but the word Lykke in Danish can mean both happiness and luck. This novel therefore looks into the difference between the two and what the relationship between them is.

An interesting novel this and one which reminded me of an adult fairy tale in the way there’s a moral side to the story and
Molly Dektar
Sep 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh no, I’m really upset now! Good book I read slowly and I’m sad it’s over.
Feb 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book. Lucky Per is never a fully likable character and the mastery of the author is such that you want to quickly read on to find out what is in store for him next, and how he will mess it up. The most enjoyable part was that of Jakobe Salomon, a Danish Anna Karenina who does not succumb to tragedy but keeps it together and finds a place in the world. We should find another great writer to conjure for us what became of her in her later years.
Jerry Pogan
May 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An exceptionally well written book. Pontoppidan wrote the book in 1898 but it reads like it could have been written today with only the subject matter dating it. The story is somewhat autobiographical and loosely follows Pontoppidan's early years growing up in an overly religious family and his attending engineering school. The main protagonist is Per Sidenius who rebelled as a child against his parents and their strict religious practices and later became estranged from his family. He grew up t ...more
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I saw Billy August's movie with the same name and it was so good, that I decided to read H. Pontoppidan's novel. The story line in the book is quite different, so I highly recommend you reading the book, also to get a lot of more details. In Danish, Pontoppidan had a wonderful language describing a character, an event or some "philosophical" ideas with logic and humor. No wonder he was a winner of Noble Price in literature. Read "Lykke-Per" to get an authentic picture of Denmark and its culture, ...more
Phil O'Riordan
Apr 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I feel like if this had been written today I’d give it five stars, because it’s just as much about contemporary Danish society as it is about its protagonists. Unfortunately while the characters are still just as entertaining today, I don’t feel like I got much out of reading about fin-de-siècle Copenhagen other than the chance to use the phrase ‘fin-de-siecle’ in a review.
David Curry
Mar 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I pretty much hold as a gold standard for the writing of fiction the ability to make life occur on the page through language. Seldom have I seen this standard more fully met than in Henrik Pontoppidan’s 1904 novel Lucky Per. The author’s command of scene, character and dialogue grips and delights straight through the book.

Early in the novel, we get a description of young people — including the title character, in violation of a household curfew — sledding on a hill late at night:

“During the de
Nov 17, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read because I'd never heard of this author, Denmark's most famous historically, winner of 1917 Nobel in Lit for this book. A long exhumation through the depressive character of Per Sidenius, country boy and stern pastor's son, who has an engineering dream of a canal system for Jutland, comes to Copenhagen (start of th engine). Saga of the painful transition to modernity -- its social, economic, psychological consequences for a mostly agricultural people. Per is not exactly admirable, but his up ...more
Matthew Leigh
Jun 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the finest book I have read in a very long time. To say that it is about a young engineer who seeks to transform the economy of Jutland with ambitious schemes for wind and wave energy would be merely to describe the narrative frame. Rather it is the story of the spiritual evolution both of Per, the titular hero, and of Jakobe Salomon, the sister of his greatest supporter. The novel's conclusion is magnificent in its austerity.
Corrissa Ricard
Jul 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I do not understand how other people have not heard of this book, it is deep and enriching. Diving into the life of one man will giveaway to the understanding that even when you can have it all, it may slip any moment. This was a hard read, sometimes I had to put it down and read it later on. But it was worth it, every page is written with such talent that I cannot ignore. High praise to this author.
George Donigian
Sep 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Too long awaiting translation into English, this complex and complicated late 19th century novel shows a multitude of conflicts within the protagonist and the heroine. A fascinating peek at 19th century Denmark and other locales that play into the effort of the protagonist to bring about modernity and cultural change. I rather enjoyed it, especially as a winter-spring novel during this time of pandemic.
I keep putting it aside and picking it up again. As a fan of the classics and a 19th century style writing, I was excited to dive into this Bildungsroman. Yet... the protagonist, Peter, is just too unlikable, and not in a good way. I mean, I didn’t mind George Duroy‘s awfulness in “Bel Ami” and he WAS awful. I could kind of understand where Heathcliff was coming from. But Per? Here we have a charmless jerk personified. I almost don’t care to find out whether he will get lucky in the end or not.
Dec 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lucky Per is a captivating, fascinating book. I enjoyed each of the characters and it was very well written. This book has given me a lot to think about, and is one which will be on my mind for some time. I would like to thank Netgalley, the publisher and the author for providing me with an advance reader copy in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion of this book.
#LuckyPer #NetGalley
Beth Younge
This is one classic I didn't fully love. The first 15% I really enjoyed and thought this was great but I had little or no motivation to continue with this. I managed 75% of this and generally liked it but it was not worth the weeks I spent on it.

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Jon Nguyen
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a novel that's hard to pin down at first, but is rewarding in the end. I first came to it in search of a Danish novel, but it surprised me in being much more than that.

The book certainly has a lot to teach about Denmark—its different regions, its culture, and what it was like at the turn of the century—but I'm not sure I'd recommend it if that's all you're looking for. It only does that so well.

Instead, what made it more fulfilling for me was its timelessness and universality. While it
I have been interested in reading this in Danish for a while, but unfortunately my Danish is not good enough to get through such a long book any time this century. Watching the film made me even more curious to read it, so I decided to get the Naomi Lebowitz translation.
Oct 24, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition

I'd love to find an ebook version of this.

Also movie version:
Apr 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the great literary works of the early 20th century by a 1917 Nobel prize winner in lituature. Only very recently translated and made available in the US. Why it took so long to get here is beyond me.
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An insightful and empathetic piece as good as anything Dostoyevsky would pen.
Lasse Rindom
Oct 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Best book ever
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Pretty good book and interesting is long and slow.
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