Growth Of The Soil by Knut Hamsun - Hauntingly Beautiful

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					 Growth Of The Soil by Knut Hamsun

                       Growth Of The Soil By Knut Hamsun

The Growth of the Soil is the novel by Nor wegian writer Knut Hamsun
which won him the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1920.         Stylistically it has
a simplicity which reflects its subject matter and there prevails what
Worster calls a Miltonic monumental calm. Hamsun also has the qualities
of a Norwegian Steinbeck in his tale of the tragedies and joys of everyday
life. There are also Bergmanesque elements in its blacker episodes: the
two infanticides; Axel left to die in the snow by the jealous and resentful
Brede, whom he has gone out of his way to help and support; and the
actions and words of the poisonous, spiteful and grasping Oline. Yet these
are relieved by an underlying humour and lightness and all characters
seem to have their redeeming features. Tragedy and evil rarely lead to
unmitigated disaster, often because of the inner strength and fortitude of
the principal characters

It was Henry Miller (THE BOOKS OF MY LIFE) who initially turned me on
to Knut Hamsun. MYSTERIES and HUNGER were read first, making me
more curious about this man who wrote such mythic and timeless

GROW TH OF THE SOIL is a haunting narrative, perhaps because it is so
removed from the insanities of our modern lives. In simple, poetically
laconic language, Hamsun evokes the rural scenes and terse interactions
between his characters. The reading is provocative yet subtly gripping as
the lives of these unsophisticated folk becomes manifest throughout the
story. There are plenty of the tragic episodes and spiteful characters that
sponsor the requisite tension of a great narrative. I suppose because
Hamsun focuses upon the rural life, he has been called the Norwegian
Steinbeck, although the writing styles of these two are far from similar.

H.G. Wells thought GROW TH OF THE SOIL one of the greatest novels of
all time; and this mans recommendations are pretty significant. In this
tremendous story, we see the underlying allegory of mans evolution, from
a lone man plodding along into the wilderness to make a life, to the
resulting culture that his descendants and settlers created - from
barrenness to growth via the legacies of hard work.

This is a prosaic, mythic tale that, almost ninety years later, is still a
tremendous story. Highly recommended.


The Cloud Reckoner

Extracts: A Field Guide for Iconoclasts

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