Growth of the Soil (Barnes & Noble Digital Library)

Growth of the Soil (Barnes & Noble Digital Library)

by Knut Hamsun

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This incredible journey follows the peasants Isak and Inger in rural Norway as they struggle through hard times. Hamsun’s descriptions are spot on and provoke deep emotion. The great short story writer Isaac Bashevis Singer wrote, “the whole modern school of fiction in the twentieth century stems from Hamsun.”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781411435452
Publisher: Barnes & Noble
Publication date: 02/08/2011
Series: Barnes & Noble Digital Library
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 579
Sales rank: 452,572
File size: 388 KB
Age Range: 3 Months to 18 Years

About the Author

Knut Hamsun (1859-1952), a Norwegian novelist, was the author of Pan and Hunger. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature in 1920. A controversial figure, Hamsun’s public advocacy of the Nazi party complicated many readers’ reaction to the literature for which he was known and loved.

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Growth of the Soil 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book starts out like a simple, sturdy story, but be warned. If you open it before bed it will invade your dreams like a conquering tribe, and take up residence in your soul...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book glorifying the role of the farmer in moder society. What sets this novel apart though is Hamsuns style. He approaches his characters with neither love nor scorn. The honesty in the writing makes this a truely unique and engaging story.
LitReact on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My impression is that when people talk about Growth of the Soil most of their comments revolve around the beautiful language of the novel. While I found this to be true, I also found that I didn't find the language particularly stirring - it was pretty but it didn't get my blood going.For me, the highlight of the novel is its often times tongue in cheek humor, almost a slyness. One such episode is when Isak buys back the sheep Oline had previously stolen from him, Isak bought a certain sheep with flat ears... and people looked at him. Isak from Sellanraa was a rich man, in a good position, with no need of more sheep than he had. One can almost imagine the pique on his face when he says, I know it [the sheep with the flat ears]... I've seen it before.Talk of Growth in the Soil inevitably leads to talk of its author, Knut Hamsun, and the causes he championed. While a work is in many ways the child of the author, I do not think the author's concerns have any bearing on how one reads a work. The sins of the father are not the sins of the son, and vice versa. I think Isak in particular would agree with the notion that sons lead very different lives from that of their fathers.
BlackSheepDances on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Hamsun's work is so simple and straightforward, but then it reveals these unexpected complexities that make you pause. His characters are so vivid that I began imagining them as real people that I know. I found myself thinking of Oline while I did dishes, irritated at her big mouth. And any time Barbro entered a scene I groaned out loud. Layers. Just so many layers to these characters that make them real. Inger is so hard to describe that Hamsun's simple description is the only one that makes sense: "a strong woman full of weakness". The book is basically a love affair with the earth, given the few people in this unbroken part of Norway that makes up the setting. Their lives revolve around earth and sky and seasons. Simple work, simple food. They don't spend time analyzing why they are unhappy or seeking remedy for their bad childhoods. They live forward, moving ahead. Again, I had to try and control my isolation inclination as I read this. When they finally get other settlers up near Sellenara, inwardly I cringed because I'm thinking, what? Neighbors? Sheesh. Get rid of them! Make them move! And yet these people were happy for the company. I am so anti-social when I think living in the wilds with 8 other people within 10 miles is too much! This also was a very peaceful book. It had tension and action and sadness and pain, but overall it felt calming and restful to read it and imagine this kind of life. I was disappointed a bit when I read a recent LA Times article on Hamsun, his personal and political views at the time, and that took something away from my love of this book.
jwhenderson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite novels from my teen years was Giants in the Earth by Ole Rolvaag. I first read it as outside reading for my eighth grade English class and enjoyed it as much as My Antonia which I read at about the same time. More recently I read Pat Conroy¿s memoir My Reading Life, in which he writes about his agent who gives him a copy of Growth of the Soil by Knut Hamsun, telling him: ¿It¿s an essential book. A necessary one. It¿s the most important book I¿ve ever read. I named my farm Sellanraa in honor of Isak the man who builds his home and raises a family out of nothing.¿ To which Conroy says: ¿I¿ll read it.¿ His agent¿s response: ¿You don¿t just read this book. You must enter in. Live it. It contains the great truth.¿ Which his agent explains: ¿Everything of virtue springs from the soil. Civilization always comes along to ruin it. But you can always find the truth if it comes from the earth.¿Well after that recommendation and my own memories of Rolvaag I picked up Hamsun's book (I should have done this long before when I was amazed by Hunger which I have read and reread) and found it to be the life story of a man in the wilds, the genesis and gradual development of a homestead, the unit of humanity, in the unfilled, uncleared tracts that still remain in the Norwegian Highlands.It is an epic of earth; the history of a microcosm. Its dominant note is one of patient strength and simplicity; the mainstay of its working is the tacit, stern, yet loving alliance between Nature and the Man who faces her himself, trusting to himself and her for the physical means of life, and the spiritual contentment with life which she must grant if he be worthy. Modern man faces Nature only by proxy, or as proxy, through others or for others, and the intimacy is lost. In the wilds the contact is direct and immediate; it is the foothold upon earth, the touch of the soil itself, that gives strength.The story is epic in its magnitude, in its calm, steady progress and unhurrying rhythm, in its vast and intimate humanity. The author looks upon his characters with a great, all-tolerant sympathy, aloof yet kindly, as a god. A more objective work of fiction it would be hard to find¿certainly in what used to be called "the neurasthenic North."
gregory_gwen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I think I read this before. oh well, reading it again. Revisiting my Scandinavian lit craze of a few years ago.
Maryzenx on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I am beginning "Growth of the Soil" by Knut Hamsun today. Library Thing thinks I won't like it, I bet I will. H.G. Wells gives smashing reviews on the back cover of my ragged paperback copy. This is, I must confess, the reason I picked up the book and put it in my pocket. Mr Wells says "I do not know how to express the admiration I feel for this wonderful book without seeming to be extravagant. I am not usually lavish with my praise, but indeed the book impresses me as among the very greatest novels I have ever read. It is wholly beautiful; it is saturated with wisdom and humor and tenderness." Wow, now that is some serious praise. I shift my body to a readers pose with respect and willingness to participate. We are far from the turn of that century, but I find, even in the first two pages, that the similarity is undimmed. Still, we are of the land, in the world, on the path. The first question of many raised to my wandering, needy mind by the author Knut Hamsun is; Who has made the path? Through the forest's thicket, under the mossy rocks, into and from what origin have we come? Already there, the path is or is not for me to take, not make. Would the path, my path, be there without me? What difference does my footprint make upon the soil? Digging in 'til sunken, I reread the first paragraph with the second paragraph in mind. I am called to prepare for the path previously tested, trusted and harmless. Hamsun asks with his greatest novel ever, would there be reason enough, at the end of it all, to have been? This is only page one, paragraph two, I am encouraged by my interest and will follow through with the intent to learn more about the world as it was but first and foremost, to learn about the world as it is. Good reading, good minds.Ma
LTFL_JMLS on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I think I read this before. oh well, reading it again. Revisiting my Scandinavian lit craze of a few years ago.
SaraPrindiville on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Reminiscent of "Giants in the Earth", "Cry the Beloved Country", "How Green was my Valley", also "House" by Tracy Kidder. Change due to humanity's influence, mining specificaly, but also change through growth. Classic figures- Geisslet "god" Brede "devil" etc. Multi leveled.
wunderkind on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have no idea how to describe this book: it seems like it should be the most boring story ever (man walks until he finds good land, man builds farm, man marries woman, man and woman have kids, and all of this without saying anything more than necessary), but it's absolutely engrossing and inspiring. I can't explain it. It's like magic. Magic that makes you want to go out and build a log cabin.
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