Thursday, December 17, 2009
Hunger by Knut Hamsun
First published in 1890, Hunger is a pretty apt title for this book. A starving writer wanders the streets of Oslo, desperate for nourishment, or at least a few kroner so he can buy a bit of food. He needs to publish a story to make some money so he can eat; but he can't write without food to fuel his brain. Both his mental and physical decline are excruciatingly recounted. In that way, it's kind of a hard read--you're desperate for the narrator to eat a decent meal, cursing him for turning down a prison breakfast because he doesn't want to admit that he's homeless (for chrissakes!), almost feeling the hunger along with him. Might I add, for a 120-year old book it feels remarkably modern.