Hunger

By Knut Hamsun,

Book cover of Hunger

Book description

One of the most important and controversial writers of the 20th century, Knut Hamsun made literary history with the publication in 1890 of this powerful, autobiographical novel recounting the abject poverty, hunger and despair of a young writer struggling to achieve self-discovery and its ultimate artistic expression. The book brilliantly…

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Why read it?

3 authors picked Hunger as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I found this book mentioned in one of Charles Bukowski’s. If Bukowski liked it, I surely would, too, I thought. This is, without a doubt, a severely strange book. Hunger followers the narrator as he desperately tries to become a successful writer while battling the hardships of starvation and homelessness. He becomes delusional with grandiose ideas and attempts to humiliate a love interest of his. This book will leave you questioning your literary choices.  

Hamsun's account of a man’s refusal to die of starvation in 1880s Kristiania. His protagonist yearns for life and love as he pursues the impulses of his subconscious, even though they seem to only lead to his further degradation and destruction. Is there a deeper purpose to this apparent madness? Perceptions, sensations, and fears, all assail the young man's soul, even as he tries to write another article for the local newspaper editor or attempts to hide the fact his trousers are falling apart. The sight on the street of the woman he calls Ylayali, and the yearning aroused, keeps…

From John's list on spiritual freedom.

The quintessential me-against-the-world book, the model that all later attempts are measured against. Knut Hamsun’s description of himself as a hunger-stricken artist in 1890’s Christiania (modern day’s Oslo) manages to create such reading hunger in the reader that he will almost refer to this book as his first real meal. The prose is simply electric. Imagine incredible Norway at around 1900 when this small nation could pride itself of four world-class artists: Henrik Ibsen (born 1828), Edvard Grieg (born 1843), Edvard Munch (born 1863), and Knut Hamsun (born 1859).

From Hallgrímur's list on me-against-the-world.

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