With its angst-ridden, sensualist hero, Anne Garborg's classic, Weary Men, (Trætte Mænd) invites comparison with the classic European decadent novels of the turn of the centuryHuysmans's Against the Grain and Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray. Unlike the protagonists of those novels, however, the hero of Weary Men is treated with irony. And while it is a brilliant novel of ideas, Weary Men has endured primarily because of the acuity with which Garborg explores the roguish main character's psychological makeup.
Originally published in 1891, Weary Men introduces a bachelor nearly middle age named Gabriel Gram, who suffers an existential crisis, considers suicide, but finally finds solace in a religious conversion of questionnable sincerity. Garborg depicts Gram's Kristiania (present day Oslo) in fascinating detail as Gram divides his time between male friends and "new women," a new generation of Norwegian women embolded to walk freely with men in public but who continue to rebuff Gram's sexual advances.
About the Author
Arne Garborg, born Aadne Eivindsson Garborg (25 January 1851, Time - 14 January 1924) was a Norwegian writer. Garborg championed the use of Landsmål (now known as Nynorsk, or New Norwegian), as a literary language; he translated the Odyssey into it. He founded the weekly Fedraheim in 1877, in which he urged reforms in many spheres including political, social, religious, agrarian, and linguistic. He was married to Hulda Garborg.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Garborg's novel from 1891 represents a fin de siècle text exploring existential problems. Is there a God? What is love? It also investigates issues crucial to 19th century: sexuality and masculinity. The main character Gabriel Gram presents in this book - written as a diary - a man on the verge of suicide and destruction. It is the story of love and a lonely man trying to reconcile the paradoxes of life... It's kind of ironic and funny too in fact.