Realini's Reviews > Hunger

Hunger by Knut Hamsun
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Jul 12, 2012

it was amazing

Even if I had to spend hours waiting in long queues for bread, milk (and any other food for that matter) under the communist regime, I can't say that I felt the Hunger which is haunting me after reading this great book. It is rather depressing to read about someone who spends days on end with no food and when he does eat something, it throughs it up. But it is all worth it: Hunger is a Great book.


There is a big question mark hanging over Knut Hamsun and his admiration for the nazis: I'd say that his writing would be called by the nazis as "decadent" and they did not have any respect for that kind of art, on the contrary, they would shoot the decadents (and many others). Why has Hamsun had so much wonder for the fascists and these in turn reciprocated?


I first started reading Hunger a few years ago. I stopped because I couldn't put up with all the pain, horror and absurdity which is contained in this book. At the first approach, all I got was the darkness and was unable to see the beauty of the novel.


The Scandinavians offer a wonderful "role model " to the world, or so it seems (most of the) world thinks. I'm not so taken aback by neither the model nor the Scandinavians.

Hunger is a solid confirmation that "Something's rotten in the state of Denmark" (and some of those around it).

I loved the book, even if I had to read it in two stages, after a few years pause.

It is modern, intriguing, unexpected and seldom...fun.


The "hero" is a very strange man, hungry, no: starving most of time. Proud and unpredictable and yet what we call today "a homeless ". At times he is violent, only to be kind on the next page. He finds love, but somehow rejects it.


There's an extract from the book:



"If one only had something to eat, just a little, on such a clear day! The mood of the gay morning overwhelmed me, I became unusually serene, and started to hum for pure joy and for no particular reason. In front of a butcher's shop there was a woman with a basket on her arm, debating about some sausage for dinner; as I went past, she looked up at me. She had only a single tooth in the lower jaw. In the nervous and excitable state I was on, her face made an instant and revolting impression on me - the long yellow tooth looked like a finger sticking out of her jaw, and as she turned toward me, her eyes wee full of sausage. I lost my appetite instantly, and felt nauseated."

(Knut Hamsun, "Hunger")
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