Mysteries

Mysteries➵ [Read] ➯ Mysteries By Knut Hamsun ✤ – Bluevapours.co.uk In a Norwegian coastal town, society s carefully woven threads begin to unravel when an unsettling stranger named Johan Nagel arrives With an often brutal insight into human nature, Nagel draws out th In a Norwegian coastal town, society s carefully woven threads begin to unravel when an unsettling stranger named Johan Nagel arrives With an often brutal insight into human nature, Nagel draws out the townsfolk, exposing their darkest instincts and suppressed desires At once arrogant and unassuming, righteous and depraved, Nagel s bizarre behavior and feverish rants seduces the entire community even as he turns it on its head before disappearing as suddenly as he had arrived.

Knut Hamsun was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in for his monumental work, Growth of the Soil He insisted that the intricacies of the human mind ought to be the main object of modern literature, to describe the whisper of the blood, and the pleading of the bone marrow Hamsun pursued his literary program, debuting in with the psychological novel Hunger.

Mysteries ePUB ✓ Paperback
  • Paperback
  • 348 pages
  • Mysteries
  • Knut Hamsun
  • 04 January 2018

10 thoughts on “Mysteries

  1. s.penkevich says:

    Hamsun s aptly named second novel, Mysteries, is a dazzling, dark look into human nature and man s psyche It is no surprise that Henry Miller claimed that Mysteries wascloser to me than any book I have read,this novel is so probing and insightful that you feel it begin to pick your own mind as the pages churn by Written in 1892, just 2 years following Hunger, this novel once again demonstrates Hamsun s signature frantic yet serene prose while showcasing Hamsun as a Modernist far ahead of h Hamsun s aptly named second novel, Mysteries, is a dazzling, dark look into human nature and man s psyche It is no surprise that Henry Miller claimed that Mysteries wascloser to me than any book I have read,this novel is so probing and insightful that you feel it begin to pick your own mind as the pages churn by Written in 1892, just 2 years following Hunger, this novel once again demonstrates Hamsun s signature frantic yet serene prose while showcasing Hamsun as a Modernist far ahead of his time and a master of the psychological novel Plunging into the existential mysteries of the human heart and soul, Hamsun pens some of his most memorable characters while keeping the reader forever pondering the truth behind the abundant mysteries.Hamsun is a difficult one to grapple with When I read him about a decade ago I really enjoyed his work but now, writing this in 2019, I am less willing to overlook the misogyny in his work and his troubled history late in life He died having been denounced by his homeland and is lesser known nowadays due to his sympathetic association to the Nazi party during WWII I went intodetail of this in my review for Growth of the Soil, but this association cost him his fame and caused to widespread burning of his books in Norway and the relative popular neglect for his works in the United States following the war He was an incredible author whose name holds up to his comparisons to Fyodor Dostoyevsky, but the politics of his later life are rather quite offputting Mysteries places the human psyche under Hamsun s microscope Much like his first novel, the great Hunger, this novel follows the concise rise and fall of emotions in the protagonist, creating a well rounded depiction of a man in the grips of mania and excitement We follow the loquacious ravings, often liquor fueled, of our hero, Johan Nilsen Nagel, from a calm steady conversation to the height of frenzy, and are shown glimpses through a cloudy window of the mind to his introspective obsessions This is fully believable and creates for an intense, unpredictable character There is a wonderfully ironic moment when Martha Gude takes leave of Nagel to go see a preforming magician since the real magician of this novel is Nagel himself who preforms an elaborate smoke and mirrors trick of personality throughout the novel The true nature of Nagel, is never fully revealed, instead, the reader must discern what they can as small pieces of the whole are glimpsed, then hidden again behind contradictory evidence This eccentric stranger, dressed in a loud yellow suit who keeps the town on edge and full of gossip with his erratic behavior, is awalking contradiction, as Dagny is quick to point out and Nagel is eager to uphold The reader learns of his lifesavers medal, for example, which he speaks aloud that he earned rescuing a drowning man while on passage to Hamburg, however later on, he adamantly claims to Dagny that is was purchased from a pawn store He tells the town he is an agronomist, yet it is hinted that this is merely a ruse Even his name may be false The biggest insights can only be hinted through a cryptic conversation between him and a former lover whom speak inelliptical allusions to the past and used words and phrases that had meaning only for them .The nature of this novel is akin to the mysterious nature of the protagonist Choosing to write from a third person perspective, Hamsun is able to remove the reader from any situation that could give too much away Unlike Hunger where the reader was a fly on the wall of the narrators internal monologues, the secrets of Nagel are kept from us Hamsun does occasionally have Nagel speak aloud in long tirades of his inner thoughts, but this is used sparingly and creates a bit of unevenness in the writing, although it is ultimately not distracting This third person perspective is highly efficient to the delivery of this story, as the reader often learns of Nagel s whereabouts from his mouth as he professes them to the townsfolk However, the reader quickly learns to take everything with a grain of salt and we are often left wondering if he speaks the truth, or perhaps even a half truth.Hamsun makes remarkable use of Nagel s long, mercurial rants, often crafting them as small allegories of the surrounding events and people Nagel speaks in a breathtaking prose laden with symbols and metaphors that always tell muchjust beneath the surface of his sparkling words His tales are often elaborate and outlandish, earning him quite a reputation around town He also uses Nagel as his mouthpiece for literary and political criticisms, bashing many of the Norwegian politicians of the day, criticizing the capital city and the artists who inhabit it although, speaking of contradictions, he spoke lovingly of this city, Kristiana, in the opening lines of Hunger , and spitting a brutal assault on both Leo Tolstoy and the highly regarded Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibesn To digress a mere moment, Hamsun was an outspoken critic of Ibsen, who was quite popular at the time In the year succeeding the popular release of Hunger, Hamsun invited Ibsen to attend a lecture of his and offered him the front and center seat in a room full of other writers of great notoriety He then went on to lambaste Ibsen s work to his face saying his plays wereindefensibly coarse and artificial psychologyThere is an article featuring this story and a good overview of Hamsun s biography here.The real brilliance of this novel is how Nagel serves as a barometer of human nature and in juxtaposition with him, the true nature of the various members of the town can be seen with crystal clear accuracy While Nagel may be erratic and potentially manic, his boldness reveals an unapologetic image of himself, which brings out the truth in others The closed mindedness, the destructiveness, the arrogance, and all the other hidden demons float to the surface around Nagel This can also show a character in a positive light, or just as a harmless windbag who cannot help but vomit their opinions into any available ear Nagel asserts that there are no selfless acts and that every man has a secret vice, including those who may seem like the most saintly, good natured folk among us Each one of us carries a bit of demon somewhere inside While one may give a small chunk of change to a beggar on the street may seem as selfless as it gets, Nagel would argue that does this not cause the giver to feel an inner peace at helping another, which is itself a selfish reward This existential probe begs the reader to examine his or her own life, and examine their own opinion on Nagel as it may reveal a great deal about them This story has no true linear plot, but sets Hamsun s colorful cast in one town and allows them to simply interact Due to this storytelling device, many critics have labeled Hamsun as one of the first early Modernists, and many authors followed in his footsteps Ernest Hemingway claimed thatHamsun taught me to writethanks wiki , and after reading the often drunk and frenzied lead characters of his early works one can understand why Charles Bukowski was such a fervent fan and claimed he used Hamsun as awriting crutchHis unique style, voice, and his monumental simplistic prose have caused him to quickly become one of my favorites This novel is not as direct and concise as Hunger, yet it can be felt that Hamsun was reaching his talents out to greater heights and experimenting with perspective and layering of time there are many amazing instances where Hamsun will seamlessly follow from various past incidents and present goings on all within one flowing paragraph without the reader becoming lost , so the rough patches that are slightly noticeable within this book are understandable He makes up for it ten fold.Vladimir Nabokov once wrote that one should notread books for the infantile purpose of identifying oneself with the characters but for the sake of their form, their visions, their artLectures on Literature I have always tried to keep this in mind while devouring a novel, and I have very much appreciated this novel for its aesthetic purposes I hope , but I fell for that infantile impulse to identify with Nagel He has become one of my favorite characters found in literature, right up there with the Underground Man and Steinbeck s Samuel Hamilton While this novel isn t quite as close to perfection as Hunger, which few novels are, Mysteries is my favorite of Hamsun s novels, although I would recommend the former if you are looking for an introduction to his work This novel has an ending out of left field and will keep your mind spinning for days to come as you try to piece together the mysteries Nagel left behind Who is this eccentric stranger Does he really knowthan he lets on, and how does he know these secrets that lurk inside Is he crazy, or simply genius Hamsun leaves that for you to decide.4.75 5

  2. Manny says:

    I refused to read Hamsun for a long time, on the grounds that he was a Nazi sympathizer But I started getting interested in modern Norwegian literature a couple of years ago, and in the end I had to give in You just can t avoid him he s referred to everywhere And if I find him hard to deal with, I m comforted by the fact that it s much worse for the Norwegians.Let me expand on that a bit I m English by birth, and I ve also lived a fair amount of my life in Sweden and the US None of those c I refused to read Hamsun for a long time, on the grounds that he was a Nazi sympathizer But I started getting interested in modern Norwegian literature a couple of years ago, and in the end I had to give in You just can t avoid him he s referred to everywhere And if I find him hard to deal with, I m comforted by the fact that it s much worse for the Norwegians.Let me expand on that a bit I m English by birth, and I ve also lived a fair amount of my life in Sweden and the US None of those countries have ever been occupied by a foreign power people from the American South may disagree We don t know what it s like, and it s difficult to understand from the outside When you read books from countries like France and Norway, which have recently suffered the experience of being occupied, you start to get some idea The best comparison I can find is that it s like being raped It s a shameful and degrading thing that you don t want to talk about unless you have to.Now, suppose that you re a woman who s been abducted by a psychopath who keeps you for years in his cellar, and comes down every now and then to rape and torture you And then suppose that your big brother, whom you ve always loved and admired, gets friendly with the rapist He visits every now and then You re lying there bruised and bleeding in the cellar, and you can hear your brother and the rapist laughing together and playing cards in the kitchen above you It was rather like that with Hamsun and the Norwegians He was their greatest living author Everyone had read him Norwegians are an exceptionally literate people During World War II, while Norway was occupied, Hamsun expressed his deep admiration for the Nazis He gave his Nobel medal to Goebbels, and he met Hitler When Hitler killed himself, Hamsun wrote him a flattering obituary You can understand the scene in Christensen s Halvbroren, where the grandmother, a sympathetic character, burns all Hamsun s works in her stove But the same book constantly mentions Hamsun s novels, and the author makes it clear how deep his artistic debt is Jan Kj rstad, in Forf reren, has similar problems The section on Hamsun is very interesting.After the war, the Norwegian government simply didn t know what to do Their solution was to determine that Hamsun was legally insane He was also fined a large amount of money Well, they may have been right To the extent that the word insane means anything, I agree But it was an unusual form of insanity Hamsun had an unparalleled ability to project his feelings so that other people could experience them too when I read Mysterier, it was almost as though I had gone through Doctor Parnassus s magic mirror, and found myself inside his crazed mind Or, to use another analogy, remember the sequence from Mary Poppins where Bert and the kids jump into the picture but instead of the anodyne country scene that Bert has drawn on the sidewalk, imagine that they have leaped into one of Van Gogh s last paintings It s an unpleasant and frightening book, but a remarkably powerful one.The language is extraordinary Here are two passages I particularly liked, with my translations Det minder mig litt om en nat p Middelhavet, p kysten av Tunis Det var vel hundrede passagerer ombord, et sangkor som kom fra Sardinien et sted Jeg h rte ikke til selskapet og kunde ikke synge, jeg sat bare p d kket og h rte p mens koret sang nedenunder i salonen Det varte n sten hele natten jeg skal aldrig glemme hvor det lydde godt i den lumre nat Jeg trek i smug alle d rer til salongen i t ttet sangen inde, s si, og s var det som lyden kom fra havsbunden, ja som om skibet skulde g ind i evigheten med brusende musik Tenk Dem noget i retning av et hav fuldt av sang, et underjordisk kor.Fr ken Andresen som satt Nagel n rmest sa uvilk rlig Ja Gud hvor det m tte v re deilig It reminds me a little of a night I once experienced on the Mediterranean, off the coast of Tunis There were a hundred or so passengers on board, a choir who came from somewhere in Sardinia I wasn t in their party and I couldn t sing myself, I just sat there on the deck and listened while the choir sang underneath me in the saloon They sang nearly all night I will never forget how wonderful it sounded in the warm darkness I sneaked down and closed all the doors concentrated the essence of the song, as it were, and it was as though the sound came from the bottom of the sea, as though the ship was sailing into eternity on the music Imagine something like a sea full of singing, an underwater choir.Fr ken Andresen, who was sitting closest to Nagel, said involuntarily Oh my God, it must have been so beautiful And later, in the scene which I think explains the title Stemmen er en farlig apparat Forst mig ret jeg mener ikke netop stemmens materielle lyd, den kan v re h i eller lav, klangfuld eller r , jeg mener ikke det stemmestofelige, tonetillv relsen, nei jeg holder mig til mysteriet bak den, den verden som den utg r fr n Til helvete forresten med denne verden bak Altid ska det v re en verden bak Hvad fan raker det mig The voice is a dangerous instrument Understand me correctly I don t mean simply the material quality of the sound, whether it s high or low, melodious or harsh I don t mean the acoustic or prosodic properties I m talking about the mystery behind it, the world it comes from Oh, never mind, fuck the world behind it There s always supposed to be a world behind things What s it got to do with me I m not sure what this means, to be honest, but I feel it s saying something important Maybe someone can explain it to me Mostly, I feel relieved to have escaped intact from the Imaginarium

  3. Jeffrey Keeten says:

    But what really matters is not what you believe but the faith and conviction with which you believe Johan Nilsen Nagel arrives in a small, coastal Norwegian town bearing a fur coat in summer, a yellow suit, and a violin case without a violin He deliberately leaves out telegrams on his table that give the impression he is quite rich He later claims they are false, but the reader is already suspicious that subterfuge and deliberate lying are part of whatever game he is playing Who is he, real But what really matters is not what you believe but the faith and conviction with which you believe Johan Nilsen Nagel arrives in a small, coastal Norwegian town bearing a fur coat in summer, a yellow suit, and a violin case without a violin He deliberately leaves out telegrams on his table that give the impression he is quite rich He later claims they are false, but the reader is already suspicious that subterfuge and deliberate lying are part of whatever game he is playing Who is he, really And what possible motivation does he have in being so odd Why can t he act like a normal person What is his aim He professes that he has fallen head over heels in love with Dagny, despite the fact that she is engaged to an officer in the Navy He is not dissuaded by her protests that he must desist She is intrigued by him, even after she starts to unravel his lies She has certainly never met anyone like him, and even though she knows he is an unreliable narrator of his own life, she can t help but continue to think about him He is messing with her head Then, he abruptly starts chasing after a woman who would be considered an old maid certainly, she is many years older than Nagel This definitely makes me uneasy because I have already discovered that I can t trust his character I fear he will lift her up only to drop her unceremoniously after his attention wanders somewhere else Can he play the violin What is that about He makes friends with a midget who is forced to do tricks for a few re Nagel has surreptitiously attempted to help several disadvantaged people in town, going to great, elaborate links to give them money without them knowing how this windfall found them, and the midget is no exception Did I mention that Nagel carries a vial of prussic acid around with him all the time An insurance policy in case life becomes too overwhelming, a reassurance that he will never be trapped I kept getting a Werther feel off this novel and wondering if our friend Nagel is heading towards a self inflicted, dramatic ending The whole novel is very puzzling The book was published in Norway in 1892, but was not published in English until 1971 The Farrar, Straus, and Giroux first edition that I read has a cover that reminds me of the Herman Hesse books published about the same time by the same publisher I associate Hesse with the 1960s and 1970s, even though he was writing many decades before that Trying to see this book through a 1970s lens doesn t work, but also trying to place this novel in the 1890s is almost impossible He was certainly forward thinking, especially in presenting psychology in fiction, and some would say he was writing the first modern novels I leantowards that he was an uncle of the modern novel He certainly had influence on several generations of writers Like many of our historical figures, Knut Hamsun does not live up to the high ideals we would like our heroes or our influencers to be He was a Nazi sympathizer during the war, and fearing that the British would invade Norway, he rooted rather publicly for the Germans to invade first He was seen frequently in the company of high ranking Nazi officials, including Adolf Hitler When he won the Nobel Prize for Literature, he gave his award to Joseph Goebbels bone rattling shudder During his trial after the war, he pleaded ignorance Ignorance Maybe anglophobia, or maybe his distaste for the lack of discipline he was seeing in the world We can come up with half a dozen better reasons, but ignorance is not something I would ever accuse such a man as Hamsun of suffering from He is quite possibly Norway s greatest novelist I can only imagine the pain that Norwegian intellectuals feel to have such a negative association with such a great contributor to literature We want our influencers to be beyond reproach, but rarely do they hold up to deep scrutiny We are dismantling statues in the US, and I completely agree with taking down the Confederate heroes because most of those statues were put up for the wrong reason in the first place They were erected in the 1960s as a response to the Civil Rights Movement Now there is trending hashtag cancelhamilton and mutters about removing him from the 10 because he owned slaves To beprecise he didn t own slaves, he married into the wealthy, slave owning family, the Schuylers He did participate in the slave trade by buying and selling slaves for his in laws He certainly benefited from slavery He is flawed as were most of the founding fathers He is one of only three founding fathers who did not own slaves, but the musical Hamilton does inflate his abolitionist stance.This review isn t about Hamilton, but about Hamsun I make the association between the two men simply because they have both been evaluated and revaluated through the lens of history and been found wanting.I start to squirm a bit in my seat when I hear about the possibility of Hamilton being eradicated from our history I ve always respected the fact that he came from nothing and made something of himself There are statues to Knut Hamsun, of course Should they be taken down because of his Nazi associations, or should they remain because of his contribution to literature Do we judge people by their worst characteristics or by their best Do we judge people only by their worst day History should be studied for the people who got it right as well as the people who got it wrong Trying to whitewash history is a dangerous game What a great point of discussion over a few pints on whether Hamsun s literature has proven to be a greater contribution to the betterment of mankind than his association with the Nazis has been a detriment In Mysteries, there are certainly no signs of Fascism or any of their guiding principles Should Hamiton s contributions to the formation of the United States be ignored Do I have to unwatch and unenjoy Hamilton If we take Hamilton down for his connection with slavery, where does it stop Do we take down Jefferson as well, or how about the father of our country, George Washington We certainly should be finding those historical people who exhibited principlesin line with our modern sensibilities, but we just can t sidestep the contributions of the slave owners in the formation of our country They are there at every step, warts and all It is frustrating that such men did so little to end slavery Think if Jefferson and his writing cronies had shown the proper moxie to end slavery with the writing of the Constitution in 1789 This is such an odd book with progressive ideas I would certainly hate to see it and Hamsun s other best books ignored by readers because of his ignorance with the Nazies I ve decided I will read Pan, Hunger, and Victoria, which along with Mysteries are considered his best books Can we venerate Hamsun as a novelist and condemn him as a Nazi If you wish to seeof my most recent book and movie reviews, visit also have a Facebook blogger page at and an Instagram account

  4. E. G. says:

    AcknowledgmentsIntroduction NotesSuggestions for Further ReadingTranslator s Note Mysteries Explanatory NotesTextual Notes AcknowledgmentsIntroduction NotesSuggestions for Further ReadingTranslator s Note Mysteries Explanatory NotesTextual Notes

  5. Ben Winch says:

    When I was a teenager my dad urged 2 novels on me Hermann Hesse s Glass Bead Game and Knut Hamsun s Hunger which I consider all time favourites to this day Hesse I loved immediately I read everything of his I could find But Hamsun took a little longer Upon first reading Hunger I thought, Huh That s it It s not that I didn t like it, but it perplexed me Hesse and most if not all of my parents other recommendations Marquez, Kundera, Eco, Grass had seemed so grand, somehow E When I was a teenager my dad urged 2 novels on me Hermann Hesse s Glass Bead Game and Knut Hamsun s Hunger which I consider all time favourites to this day Hesse I loved immediately I read everything of his I could find But Hamsun took a little longer Upon first reading Hunger I thought, Huh That s it It s not that I didn t like it, but it perplexed me Hesse and most if not all of my parents other recommendations Marquez, Kundera, Eco, Grass had seemed so grand, somehow Exalted But Hamsun was the opposite his gaze was microscopic And crucially, not once did he signpost any moral message or broader significance Hunger was so far from a novel of ideas it was baffling What was it about Why did it exist Why did Dad revere it But 20 or so years and several readings later I m with Dad Hamsun the young Hamsun was a genius Hunger, Mysteries and Pan his first 3 novels, in that order are masterpieces, worthy of comparison with anything I ve ever read There are scenes in these books that have burnt themselves indelibly into me in Hunger when the delirious narrator becomes paranoically obsessed with an old man in the park in Mysteries when Nagel plays the violin at the town talent night in Pan when Glahn heartbreakingly shoots Aesop Hamun s characters are alive Thrillingly so His secret He doesn t fence them in, or use them to illustrate theses Hunger is what Crime and Punishment could be if it were allowed to grow wild And Mysteries is even wilder Less autobiographical,imaginative,broad reaching At times it s almost surreal Sure, the character is virtually the same, but transplanted into thisfertile terrain he is really allowed to flourish It s mind bending, the tricks he plays on himself and others, the tangle of motivations, the palpable sense of mystery that he, the reader and Hamsun all feel as the story unfolds Add to this the almost incredible, sleek modern ness of the prose which reads just as well in both existing translations and, for a book written in the 1890s, you have a minor miracle In Europe when these books were published young people would queue up for hours to buy them Hamsun who had travelled to America and seemed to have brought back something of its toughness or laconicism was revered by most of those writers who would go on to invent European modernism There simply wasn t anything else like him Flash forward to John Fante and Charles Bukowski, both of whom read Hunger and reiterated even by then 40 50 years later he was one of a kind Look, Camus almost did it with The Outsider, but again he didn t let his character free Read Hunger and tell me it doesn t breathe Compare it to almost anything and tell me if it seems dated Mysteries,, OK, maybe there are passages that have dated, but only because it s looser, shaggier But that scene where Nagel plays the violin God, it s brilliant This guy in a loud suit who all through the novel has denied he has any musical talent even though he carries around a violin case he even goes so far as to admit it s just for show, though he could be lying suddenly gets up at this rinky dink talent night and plays his heart out The townsfolk are stupefied, but here s the catch we still don t know if he s any good or not His technique is bad, that much is clear, and yet even he, after all his modest denials, is forced to admit that he really did put some soul into it I mean, Jeez, is this not punk rock about 80 years before the fact It gives me the shivers And then the whole romantic tangle he gets himself into, so deep that even he doesn t seem to know which of these women he really wants, or if he wants any of them at all And those scenes in the forest revisited in Pan and hewn into somethingrecognisable,lyrical but here just raw and real and magical Read Hunger, read Mysteries, read Pan Re read them There s plenty of others, but I dunno, I ve never made itthan a few pages into any of them I didn t want to spoil it for myself The twentieth century starts here As to the Hamsun haters, those who won t read him because he was a Fascist , wake up Firstly, what the f k has that got to do with his work anyway This is imaginitive writing It s about as close to apolitical as you can get, and I guarantee, you will find no subliminal Nazism here And secondly, being a Fascist like being an anti semite or a smoker, unlike being gay is NOT something you re born into My Dad says he s going to vote for the Nationals ie the ultra conservative country party next time around, because in all conscience he can t vote for Labour after they ve been proven so corrupt Does that make him a conservative foreverDoes it make his 30 year old self who was about as un conservative as they come a conservative too Because Dylan was born again in the 70s should we judge Highway 61 Revisited the work of a Christian Besides which, if you read only authors who share your political beliefs how f king narrow are you

  6. Deepthi says:

    In the middle of the summer of 1891 the most extraordinary things began happening in a small Norwegian coastal town A stranger by the name of Nagel appeared, a singular character who shook the town by his eccentric behavior and then vanished suddenly as he had come. This is how Hamsun introduces us to Nagel, his yellow suit and his world of mysteries I finished this book an hour ago I spent my night reading this breathtaking novel And for the past one hour I have been sitting in front of my In the middle of the summer of 1891 the most extraordinary things began happening in a small Norwegian coastal town A stranger by the name of Nagel appeared, a singular character who shook the town by his eccentric behavior and then vanished suddenly as he had come. This is how Hamsun introduces us to Nagel, his yellow suit and his world of mysteries I finished this book an hour ago I spent my night reading this breathtaking novel And for the past one hour I have been sitting in front of my laptop, lost in thoughts attempting to write a review I admit, I have failed All I would say is READ IT You will know why my brain froze Mysteries is haunting, enigmatic, existential, and one of the best novels I have come across Highly recommended

  7. Geoff says:

    Though not a perfect book, Hamsun has again created a unique character, a unique atmosphere, and something resembling Musil s man without qualities in the person of Nagel Mysteries, in some ways, supercedes Hunger in scope and depth of writing, but is muchdisorganized and not as consistent in tone Both Hunger and Mysteries simmered and seethed with nervousness, desperation, exhausted illumination, and fascinating strangeness, but where Hunger flowed essentially like four movements of Though not a perfect book, Hamsun has again created a unique character, a unique atmosphere, and something resembling Musil s man without qualities in the person of Nagel Mysteries, in some ways, supercedes Hunger in scope and depth of writing, but is muchdisorganized and not as consistent in tone Both Hunger and Mysteries simmered and seethed with nervousness, desperation, exhausted illumination, and fascinating strangeness, but where Hunger flowed essentially like four movements of a symphony, Mysteries weaves through high and low points of artistic success Still, I have to say I was moved many times and found myself totally immersed in Nagel s dark subconcious wanderings and flights of fancy The chapter where he recounts the story of his night following Jack O Lantern through the woods was especially striking

  8. Bobby says:

    The only mystery here is why I read all 330 pages of this nonsense.

  9. S̶e̶a̶n̶ says:

    Nagel is a disrupter he annihilates social norms wherever he goes And in this case he goes to a small town by the sea, where he proceeds to woo various women, tell outrageous stories while holding drunken court in his hotel room, and generally act at odds with conventional behavior He is immediately drawn to both the town s outcasts and its social elite, equally at ease in the company of both Though he can be charming and the life of the party, he is also an outsider, appearing only to play a Nagel is a disrupter he annihilates social norms wherever he goes And in this case he goes to a small town by the sea, where he proceeds to woo various women, tell outrageous stories while holding drunken court in his hotel room, and generally act at odds with conventional behavior He is immediately drawn to both the town s outcasts and its social elite, equally at ease in the company of both Though he can be charming and the life of the party, he is also an outsider, appearing only to play a role in social situations, while when alone he grows anxious and disturbed At his most interesting Nagel reminds me of many of Robert Walser s characters, butvolatile in his unpredictability At his least interesting he is a bloviating cad prone to tedious, rambling monologues that taxed my patience as a reader His frequent speeches and diatribes wreak havoc on the pacing of the novel, much to its detriment Ultimately this lacks the narrative drive and focus of Hunger, but nonetheless it s an interesting literary artifact No doubt it generated quite a bit of head scratching when it was published

  10. notgettingenough says:

    I ve decided I need a new bookshelf It s not you, it s me Perhaps all ex Catholics need one of them, the one for the books they feel guilty about not finishing.To begin with I hated this in a I hate this but I want to read it way That became I hate this but by God I m going to finish it And a couple of nights ago, up at 3am that in turn became Yeah, nah Move on And sometimes one moves on without the least guilt at all, other times one is tortured by it Then one adds the inadequacy I ve decided I need a new bookshelf It s not you, it s me Perhaps all ex Catholics need one of them, the one for the books they feel guilty about not finishing.To begin with I hated this in a I hate this but I want to read it way That became I hate this but by God I m going to finish it And a couple of nights ago, up at 3am that in turn became Yeah, nah Move on And sometimes one moves on without the least guilt at all, other times one is tortured by it Then one adds the inadequacy of looking it up on goodreads and discovering one wasn t clever enough to stick with it I suppose that s the fear of missing out on literary social media.And I still do feel a bit like that Guilt aside, I also feel like I might be missing out on a whopper of an ending.Grrrrr Maybe the shelf should be called I m moving on but I can t get you out of my mind

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