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Preview — Growth of the Soil by Knut Hamsun. Growth of the Soil by Knut Hamsun. A grand, sweeping saga of sacrifice and struggle, this epic tale recaptures the world of Norwegian homesteaders at the turn of the 20th century. It created an nambre sensation upon first publication and led to the author’s Nobel Prize in Literature.

Rich in symbolism, it continues hambree resonate with modern readers today. Paperbackpages. Published May 12th by Vintage first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

To ask other readers questions about Growth of the Soilplease sign up. Mustafa Ali Saba Very romantic book, human essence, the connection between man and nature. I really recommend this, it would change your life. See 2 questions about Growth of the Soil…. Lists with This Book.

Pwn 25, Lisa rated it really liked it Shelves: A dull and desolate existence? Nay, least of all. A man had everything; his powers above, his dreams, his loves, his wealth of superstition.

Knut Hamsun Center, Norway – ARQA

Those two understood the attraction and oppression of life lived on the harsh limits, dictated by nature’s omnipresent volatility, and by a small community’s shared values and superstitions, as well as power structures and intolerance, based on fear of things unknown.

The landscape in which hardworking farmers settled is breathtakingly beautiful in summer: But once you stop and talk to people or spend time with relatives, as the case can bethe short time span of the beautiful summer sneaks into conversations within minutes.

Even nowadays, dialogues circle around when the first flowers appeared this spring, when the last snow storm hit in Stockholm, it was 11th May, and many apple trees – mine included – lost their budding flowershow much rain is needed to make vegetables grow, but not rot over the short summer. Light hardly fades at night, but it is chilly, even in July, and people know instinctively that they have to catch each sun ray in order to steel themselves for winter.

You can still find traces of Knut Hamsun’s epic tale of the quiet, monosyllabic farmer life in Norway in the rural dialects, superstitions and conservative mindset.

A foreigner would be recognised immediately, in these remote woods. There is something silently heroic in the constant fight against nature to make the soil fertile to feed hungry children, and Hamsun’s love of his own cultural background shines through the prose pwn every page. However, his later identification with fascist Germany may also find an explanation in the worship of the Nordic, the fear of foreign influences, the focus on protecting national identity rather than accepting a range of new perspectives.

The political stain of Hamsun’s later years does not take away from his narrative power, but it should be mentioned as part of who he was, and what he developed into. Seeing both the brilliant writer and the Nazi supporter will give a nuanced picture of the different facets of life in Scandinavia at that time. It is neither idealistic nor monstrous, just shaped by the conditions under which people lived, worked and mingled with each other.

Understanding the dynamics of remote farmer communities is still relevant, and Hamsun’s sharp perceptions and colorful descriptions open up a a strangely ;an world and make it accessible to a wider, international audience. View all 29 comments. Sep 24, s. Nature enthusiasts and those willing to look into the eyes of a master.


Powerful in its sublime simplicity, Growth is the life and times of Isak, following him as he cuts his legacy from the untamed wilds of Norway. I would recommend anyone with an interest in the autho ‘Then comes the evening.

He was also reported to be one of the few people to ever talk down to Hitler, causing Hitler to dismiss him and bury himself away in rage for several days when Hamsun insisted upon releasing Norwegian prisoners of war who were sentenced to death by firing squad.

Hamsun was a massive literary inspiration to many of his contemporaries, being highly praised by authors such as Hemingway, Hesse and even Bukowski, and his luckily novels do not reflect this unflattering political alignment. This novel was however issued in field editions to German soldiers during WWII, which is understandable as the novel exudes a deep love for ones homeland.

Putting aside all the ugly Nazi business, Hamsun has a brilliant mind and voice and it would be a shame for his novels to be passed over. Growth of the Soilwritten 27 years after his other classic and debut novel, and one of my personal favorite books of all-time, Hunger displays Hamsun at a much more matured writing style.

While Hunger was gritty, raw and frantic, Growth delivers a very controlled and serene prose. The typical quirks of Hamsun are still present, and avid readers will find his unmistakable voice booming from the pages. It is quite impressive how so little yet so much seems to transpire in this relatively short novel pgs in the Penguin Classics edition and the vast length of time that goes by.

Knut Hamsun

The novel begins with a youthful Isak setting out on his own and by the end he is reflecting upon old age as he begins to embrace the deterioration of his strength and body and hambge the future in the hands of his full grown children.

He masterfully manipulates time, as it passes in spurts sometimes burning quickly through chunks of years or slowly moving through a season, yet the pace and knnut never falters as Hambde seems to evenly disperse his timeline.

Characters have always been a strong point for Hamsun. Here readers will find a colorful cast of some of the most human characters since Tolstoy. Hamsun has a charm of seemingly bringing you into the ever growing Sellenara home of Isak and Inger and allowing you to cozy up by the fire with the family.

You watch their struggles, successes, sadness and share in the local gossip over the course of generations, giving the ha,sun a feel that will put fans of East of Eden or The Hhamsun Earth right at home. Geissler, the enigmatic manic-depressive who turns up from time to time, is the books most memorable character.

His monologue near the end will echo within you for months to come and hamsunn a message that is still timely today. The real heart of this novel, however, is the land itself.

The focus primarily remains out in the wilderness and usually stays behind amongst the fields and mountains even when characters travel into town. He shows the land as being the true home and heart of a family, as the characters rely upon the land and live off the fruits of their blood and sweat. There is magical little moments where the natural world and the human world comingle spiritually; where Inger witnesses tiny fish singing to her or when the ducks seem to speak to the son with their voice passing through his gamsun.

Knut Hamsun has a power to take such a mundane chain of events and portray it in verbal majesty to rival the overgrown backlands of Norway. It is no surprise the Nobel committee honored him with the Nobel Prize for Literature in shortly after this novel achieved great success. If you want to take a trip to your roots and revert back to nature, which Hamsun would argue is the way it should be, this is a perfect novel for you.


It rewards a patient reader, as it slowly reveals its heart if you sit back, relax ee let it unfold around you like a morning sunrise. This is could be a great introduction to Hamsun, although I would recommed Hunger over this as it is more accessible. And then it was evening, and I need to go to sleep. View all 28 comments. Jul 22, Meghan rated it it was amazing. Despite the fact that this hajsun won Hamsun a Nobel Prize in Literature, it is hamssun Hamsun’s most misunderstood novel. Even when things do happen, Hamsun’s writing is surprisingly calm despite the possibility of disaster.

What I believe it comes down to is this: This books is not so much about Isak changing as it is about the “modern world” encroaching on Isak’s life.

From the strange secti Despite the fact that this book won Hamsun a Nobel Prize in Literature, it is often Hamsun’s most misunderstood novel. From the strange section in which Isak has to be led through the process of obtaining legal ownership of the land he has tilled for decades, to the son who appears less and less at the family estate, to finally Isak seeing an apparition of the Devil in the forest he has traversed hwmsun years, this book is ultimately not a story of a man who changes, but of changes circling a man of a dying breed.

Mar 29, Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly rated it it was amazing. On the front cover is a young man walking on plowed ground. From there, at once, as if it is a crime to make pleasure wait, you go straight to its first chapter. Absolutely nothing about who the author is, or his Get this edition.

Absolutely nothing about who the oan is, or his other books, not even about his having won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

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No mention of whatever awards the novel or the author got. Ah, except the one at the back cover. One solitary praise, from another writer, H. I am not usually lavish with my praise, but indeed the book impresses me as among the very greatest novels I have ever read.

It is wholly beautiful; it is saturated with wisdom and humor and tenderness. It needed nothing before it. No preliminaries, no teasers, or encomium. It pulls you captive right at its powerful first paragraph, then pins you down helpless, your eyes riveted towards one beautiful page after another, in all, an unending chorus of debilitating prose that would make you weak on your knees.

How can it ever be possible that someone could write amazingly like this, using the most humble materials for a story: Isak, the hairy, physically ugly, illiterate peasant; his wife Inger, the hare-lipped Amazon with nice legs; the family they raised in the Norwegian wilderness; their mundane farm life? And yet only a 4. Ho, ptro, huttch, hoy huit! A few lost souls gave it 2 stars, some 3. Mine was the strongest 5 I had given a book. But maybe it was just me?

Was it because, long ago when I was much younger, I too lived by myself in a wild country for a yearwith my pig, chickens and dogs as daily companions? Was it perhaps because I also knew how a long hike feels with your shoulders groaning with a heavy load, or see people only occasionally and commune with these simplest of minds eagerly during these rare moments, get down sick and trust only in the rustic air and cool spring water for cure, and see the world as it was created and before man recreated it?

H’m, I don’t know.