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Publisher's Summary

Verging on death, a starving, destitute writer navigates the cold and indifferent city of Kristiania in search of his next meal. Frenzied and fevered, he chews on stale bread, devours scraps of wood, and bites his own finger, sleeping under the stars in old, pungent blankets, until one day he is able to sell an article and buy some food - only for the cycle then to repeat itself....

Knut Hamsun's first novel, Hunger, won the author the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1920 and went on to influence the likes of Albert Camus, Franz Kafka, Charles Bukowski, and Henry Miller. This recording uses the 1996 translation by Sverre Lyngstad, which is considered to be the definitive version in English.

©2019 Naxos Audiobooks (P)2019 Naxos Audiobooks

What listeners say about Hunger

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Great book great narrator

Really great book í noticed the voice of the narrator familliar and i was pleasantly suprized to find out that he is my cousin 😁

5 people found this helpful

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Wonderful story

This novel I believe works in conversation with Crime and Punishment, presenting a similar scenario, a person who can't afford to pay his landlady, and then what would happen if that person instead of choosing murder/crime, chose to take the high road, even being willing to starve himself to death rather than lower himself to criminal acts.

Great story and one that also highlights how artists are not valued in society, while also making a statement about the necessity of working toward your goals no matter personal obstacle.

Really enjoyed it.

2 people found this helpful

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translation is vital, this is THE ONE

This recording uses the 1996 translation by Sverre Lyngstad, which is considered to be the definitive version in English. Trust me, I attempted to read and listen to several others. They were beyond awful and I was about to give this book a 1-star rating.

Since it's so well thought of and on many "top 100 books of all time" lists, I decided to research it a bit; and I found a number of great write-ups on the differences in translations. One was even a censored version. I re-read (listened to) this one and the book went from 1-star to 5-star.

This translation captures the wit, which was key. And the narration was brilliant. I can now see how it influenced many great writers of the 20th century. It was a breakthrough novel in focusing on internal dialogue and the human psyche. The protagonist is, well, quite bizarre. Someone described him as "fatally self-absorbed." Keep that in mind and enjoy the humor.

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  • Oliver
  • 12-07-19

Hypnotic descent into abjection

It was sometimes hard to believe Hunger was first published in 1890 while listening to this: it seemed so modern. Admittedly some of this is to do with the translation, which is immensely fresh and readable, but also because the style and content differed so from the typical novels of the era. It involves a young writer's descent into poverty and starvation, and details his psychology and actions during the process. It is harrowing, but also funny and lively, and despite the bleakness never less than scintillating. I would describe it as a hypnotic journey for those with an interest in existential or philosophical literature (Kafka, Camus, Sartre, et al.), but this should not suggest that it is in any way dense or didactic: it is above all other things a highly readable and affecting examination of a man's fracturing psyche and failing body, and I would recommend it to anyone seeking good, and historically important, literature.

I must also mention how great the reader was: I felt that his tone was perfect for the character, and that his pace and rhythm enhanced the above mentioned hypnotic nature of the text, while also accentuating the humour and pathos. Thanks to Naxos for continually bringing these kinds of classic, but lesser read, texts to audiobook, and for consistently using excellent readers.

6 people found this helpful

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  • S. Moorcroft
  • 06-08-21

Hunger and Madness

could occasionally be heavy going and even repetitive, but rises above the dangers of describing the monotonous and banal to weave a magical spell of the despair and desperation of hunger.

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  • Fatima
  • 11-20-20

What is the plot??

It was boring. couldnt finish it. No plot just hunger and how it's ravaging his physical and mental state.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-14-21

Monotonous

Very well read. The story does become a bit monotonous, but it’s interesting to get a glimpse another poor man’s perspective on life.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-11-20

Well written, a good performance

Not a cheery read but definitely a good one. a Well narrated performance. I would recommend it.

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  • Michael Velsigne
  • 03-04-20

Unbelievably good writing

maddening at times, harrowing at others... a short novel on one man's journey struggling to find his place in the old city of Kristiania... A must read.