Erik Graff's Reviews > Hunger

Hunger by Knut Hamsun
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's review
Mar 25, 2008

liked it
bookshelves: literature
Recommended to Erik by: Anne-Lise Graff
Recommended for: Hamsun fans
Read in June, 1974 — I own a copy

Hunger is a semiautobiographical account of the author's poverty in Kristiania ("Oslo" since independence in 1905) when Norway was still controlled by Sweden. Reminiscent of Dostoevsky's Crime & Punishment, it is a reminder of how so many of our ancestors suffered during the industrialization of Europe and of how many suffer similarly today in the third world. Significantly, the novel ends with the young protagonist leaving by ship.

I read this book because I had been given to believe that Hamsun was like Nietzche and Dostoevsky and because my family is Norwegian. My mother, raised in Oslo and retiring there, would tell me as we walked the tidy streets of how bad it was for ordinary people on the East Bank before the advent of the Labor Party at the end of WWII.

Sadly, Hamsun himself saw the solution in National Socialism and was regarded as a traitor after the German invasion in the spring of 1940.

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03/06 marked as: read

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