Hamsun's portrait of a man rejecting the claims of bourgeois society for a Rousseauian embrace of Nature and Eros, in a remarkable new translation.
"The work contains a harmony found only in the highest types of poetry; it is actually poetry set in prose, and boasts the best traits of each." Isaac Bashevis Singer
|Publisher:||Farrar, Straus and Giroux|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.44(d)|
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I wish I had read it a little quicker. I put this down about half way in, some other reading got in the way, and so it took a while to read and the momentum was kinda lost. Nevertheless... a great book, he has a way of creating the strangest voices that are not simple parodies, but are very funny and effective at the same time. There is a lot going on in here beyond the voice, much more going on here than in Hunger actually (though it might take more patience than that book, as there are many passages of very little action). The infatuation and the mind's going back and forth is a similar element, but here it is more muted, and I think more complex. The juxtaposition of the last section, where a different speaker talks about the first speaker is a nice touch as well. This book makes me think, a lot. I don't really know if I can talk about it intelligently, yet. The main characters go through many subtle and violent changes, almost completely out of their own control or understanding (and mine); I pity them.
I wonder how people summed up the experience of "first love" before roller coasters were invented? Holding that analogy for a moment.... I've come across three novels over the years that attempt to take the reader along for the dizzying ride. Turgenev's "First Love", Spencer's "Endless Love", and Hamsun's "Pan." I think teenagers should read all three as a sort of shotgun flu vaccine. Maybe one of these tales will help shorten the time inevitably spent in romantic sick bay. Pan is a swift read, two hours at most, nicely set against the seasons of a Northern sky and Norwegian wood. Think of it as a Goethe/Thoreau mix... "The Sorrows of Young Walden". It would make a pretty film, maybe in the cinematic style of "The Atonement". In thinking of it as a film, the epilogue "Glahn's Death" seems less superfluous because we are accustomed by now to stories that are completed and tailored to satisfy focus groups. I feel though, that the novella is better without the epilogue. For in real life, most victims of first love, like victims of the flu, survive. Hahaahhh..choo!