Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Book Review: Hunger

Hunger by Knut Hamsun

I love confessional novels with narrators expressing their maladies, coming clean on their madness. I love novels of mad desperation, of wanderers, of those lost in a world that is too big and overwhelming. This book, though, is no Notes from Underground. This is no Season in Hell, no Maldoror.

Hamsun's narrator is poor and hungry, driven by some sort of will he cannot control to do idiotic things. And this might be okay. It could be a good place to start, but there is no advancement. There are small dilemmas that take some time to resolve, but the narrator does not change. He does not get worse. His madness and hunger do not accelerate to a point where you know something horrible is likely to happen. His undirected will doesn't even take him on any significant adventures or put him in too much danger.

This book sounded like something I would like and even coming in with that expectations, the book did not succeed. I was disappointed.