Friday, March 15, 2019

189. Hunger

Hunger
Sult
Knut Hamsun
1890
Around 200 pages








According to The Book, this novel is an antidote for anyone who plans on being a starving writer. First off, I am not sure people actually plan to be starving, unless they are a character in a Paul Auster novel, but I do plan on being a writer. I'm afraid this book failed to cure me of this aspiration. All it did was leave me with the distinct impression that I hate Hamsun. Considering he was a Nazi sympathizer, this isn't exactly a hot take.

The main character doesn't have a name (gee, I never tire of that motif) so let's just call him a random name. How about Raskolnikov? Okay Raskolnikov is a starving writer who harasses women and old men in the street and dodges his landlady. His own ego prevents him from seeing himself as a true beggar, so he alternates between whining for food and getting offended that people would even offer him food. It's a fun read!

One of my favorite fellow 1001 bloggers informed me that this is a movie. I can't imagine how you could adapt this to film; these kind of characters cannot survive in that medium. You have to be inside their heads to have a shot at feeling any kind of sympathy for them. I was able to feel for this character a little bit, as I related to his struggles with writer's block. One moment, he is convinced he is going to create a masterpiece, the next moment he can't even string two words together. I have certainly been there, my friend.

Still, Hamsun is gross (apparently even Hitler couldn't stand him) and this book is pretty unremarkable. But hey, at least it was short.

RATING: **---

Interesting Facts:

Takes place in Kristiania (now Oslo).

Published anonymously in a Danish magazine in 1888.

UP NEXT: By the Open Sea by August Strindberg. Last Strindberg novel on the List...thank goodness.

2 comments:

  1. When they made the movie they went for that internal view where we creep into the brain of the writer. Technically smart, but it is still a crap story. I wrote a review on it two months ago or so and you can guess what direction that went.

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