Friday, March 15, 2019

189. Hunger

Knut Hamsun
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.


  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.