Thursday, January 18, 2007


Hunger tracks the tiniest shifts in the perception, emotion, and outlook of its protagonist as he sits, stews, and starves out his days while "nothing" happens. Each one of these seemingly inconsequential turns becomes crucial and central, the narrative's building blocks, the art work's fundamental units. Knut Hamsun's approach is heartening: shamelessly, relentlessly subjective, a grand experiment, a supreme demonstration of faith in his process. Yet his strategy is nothing if not meticulously structured, documentary, conceivably objective: beautifully simple, transcribing the mind's various turns and twists chronologically, deadpan--with incisive, urgent prose to be sure--and simply choosing where to jump time, which events to place in what order.

Also completely heartening to see that such a frantic, fretting mess of a mind is--if not necessarily normal--at least perfectly, authentically human.

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