Very different from his novel Hunger, here Hamsun has written a sweeping story of one man's accomplishments as a homesteader in northern Norway near the border with Sweden. Isak, a young and very I thoroughly enjoyed Knut Hamsun's "Growth of the Soil. As the years progress, so Nobel Prize winner Knut Hamsun worked as a laborer in both Scandinavia and America before establishing himself as a successful playwright and novelist.
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Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. 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 international sensation upon first publication and led to the author's Nobel Prize in Literature. Rich in symbolism, it continues to resonate with modern readers today. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published May 12th by Vintage first published More Details Original Title. Isak , Inger , Brede Olsen , Geissler.
Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Growth of the Soil , please 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. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 4. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of Growth of the Soil. Jun 25, Lisa rated it really liked it Shelves: nobels , books-to-read-before-you-die.
A dull and desolate existence? Nay, least of all. A man had everything; his powers above, his dreams, his loves, his wealth of superstition. 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: dark green woods, light green fields, flowers of all colours and shapes around the glittery blue waters of the lakes, farms spread out between small churches.
But once you stop and talk to people or spend time with relatives, as the case can be , the 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 flowers , how 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 on 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 closed world and make it accessible to a wider, international audience.
View all 31 comments. Regardless of my own views on Hamsun the man I'm sure I'm not the only one to be bothered by his Nazi sympathies there is no doubt Hamsun the novelist is up there with the best of them. Very rarely would I describe a novel as having a biblical power within it's pages, but Growth of the Soil carried with it something greater than just being a tale of man's elemental bond with the earth. He switches from the first-person narrative of earlier novels to a stately, almost distant third person perspective which I found extraordinarily effective.
With incredibly rich characters that are always deep in thought or flustered with feelings, the truthful perspective of existence and experience resulted in a tour de force level of thoughtful and textured storytelling.
Isak and Inger were characters I didn't want to leave, I miss them already. Our ancestors, there prosperous dreams, and the deepest yearning for a warm and loving Homecoming. It simply didn't disappoint. Fully deserved landing Hamsun with the Nobel Prize in Literature. For anyone interested in the day to day lives of early settlers this is a beautifully crafted must read.
View all 24 comments. Sep 24, s. Shelves: hamsun , nobel-prize-winners , nature. 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 Soil , written 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.
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 leave 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 flow never falters as Hamsun 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 novel a feel that will put fans of East of Eden or The Good 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 contains 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 soul.
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 and 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 29 comments. Jul 22, Meghan rated it it was amazing. Despite the fact that this book won Hamsun a Nobel Prize in Literature, it is often Hamsun's most misunderstood novel. Even when things do happen, Hamsun's writing is surprisingly calm despite the possibility of disaster.
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Ninety years later it remains a transporting literary experience. In the story of Isak, who leaves his village to clear a homestead and raise a family amid the untilled tracts of the Norwegian back country, Knut Hamsun evokes the elemental bond between humans and the land. For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1, titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Growth of the Soil
The epic novel of man and nature that won its author the Nobel Prize in Literature When it was first published in , Growth of the Soil was immediately recognized as a masterpiece. In the story of Isak, who leaves his village to clear a homestead and raise a family amid the untilled tracts of the Norwegian backcountry, Knut Hamsun evokes the elemental bond between humans and the land. Newly translated by the distinguished Hamsun scholar Sverre Lyngstad, Growth of the Soil is a work of preternatural calm, stern beauty, and biblical power-and the crowning achievement of one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. Singer admitted to being 'hypnotized' by him; Hesse called him his favorite writer; Hemingway recommended his novels to Scott Fitzgerald; Gide compared him to Dostoyevsky, but believed Hamsun was 'perhaps even more subtle.
It follows the story of a man who settles and lives in rural Norway. First published in , it has since been translated from Norwegian into languages such as English. The novel was written in the popular style of Norwegian new realism , a movement dominating the early 20th century. The novel exemplified Hamsun's aversion to modernity and inclination towards primitivism and the agrarian lifestyle.