Edward's Reviews > Hunger

Hunger by Knut Hamsun
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it was amazing
bookshelves: fiction, translated, own, denmark-norway-sweden-finland, 5-star, hamsun

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
May 26, 2013 – Shelved as: to-read
May 26, 2013 – Shelved
May 26, 2013 – Shelved as: fiction
May 26, 2013 – Shelved as: translated
February 5, 2015 – Shelved as: own
February 5, 2015 – Shelved as: denmark-norway-sweden-finland
February 13, 2015 – Shelved as: 5-star
July 13, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
July 22, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
February 19, 2018 – Shelved as: hamsun

Comments Showing 1-5 of 5 (5 new)

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Edward "The sun was in the south, it was about twelve. The city was beginning to get on its feet; with strolling time approaching, bowing and laughing people were surging up and down Karl Johan Street. I pressed my elbows against my sides to make myself small and slipped unnoticed past some acquaintances who had stationed themselves at a corner by the University to watch the passersby. I wandered up Palace Hill and became lost in thought.
These people that I met--how lightly and merrily they bobbed their bright faces, dancing their way through life as though it were a ballroom! There was no sign of grief in a single eye that I saw, no burden on any shoulder, not even a cloudy thought maybe, or a little secret suffering, in any of those happy hearts. While I, who walked there right beside these people, young and freshly blown, had already forgotten the very look of happiness! Coddling myself with this thought, I found that a terrible injustice had been done to me. Why had these last few months been so exceedingly rough on me? I couldn't recognize my cheerful disposition anymore, and I had the weirdest troubles wherever I turned. I couldn't sit down on a bench by myself or set foot anywhere without being attacked by small, trivial incidents, miserable trifles that forced their way among my ideas and scattered my powers to the four winds. A dog streaking past, a yellow rose in a gentleman's buttonhole, could start my thoughts vibrating and occupy me for a long time. What was the matter with me? Had the Lord's finger pointed at me? But why exactly me? Why not just as well at some person in South America, for that matter? When I pondered this, it became more and more incomprehensible to me why precisely I should have been chosen as a guinea pig for a caprice of divine grace. To skip a whole world in order to get to me--that was a rather odd way of doing things; there was, after all, both Pascha the second-hand book dealer and Hennechen the steamship agent.
I wandered about debating this matter, unable to get it out of my mind; I discovered the weightiest objections to the Lord's arbitrariness in letting me suffer for everybody else's sake. Even after I had found a bench and sat down, this question continued to occupy me, hindering me from thinking about anything else. From that day in May when my adversities had begun I could clearly perceive a gradually increasing weakness, I seemed to have become too feeble to steer or guide myself where I wanted to go; a swarm of tiny vermin had forced its way inside me and hollowed me out. What if God simply intended to annihilate me?"

Kathleen Oh man, this one floored me in the best way--though I feel "Growth of the Soil" is Hamsun's greatest, albeit not as strongly composed. Hamsun is always vying with Goethe as my most often read and beloved author.

message 3: by Edward (last edited Sep 29, 2016 03:56PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Edward I won't be reading anything else today, it's left me numb. Why hadn't I read any Hamsun before now?! I have Growth of the Soil, too, and almost read that first.

Kathleen "Mysteries" is just as tightly crafted and emotionally possessing as "Hunger." My enthusiasm and fandom eclipse my conservative ratings ("why aren't all his books given five stars?") due to my having read and reread his works so often; I became more critical of his body of writing as a whole as I learned his strengths and range of capabilities. He is so underrated as a "classic" author, Nobel prize aside.

Edward Self control will be required - I could easily see myself embarking on a binge, and I've a large pile of books to be read as it is..!

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