Dreamers, by Knut Hamsun
Rolandsen is also a schemer, a liar, and a not particularly effective womanizer. Rolandsen is engaged to the local parson's housekeeper, yet he has his eyes on both the local sexton's daughter and the daughter of Trader Mack, the town's most prosperous businessman. Rolandson adores women and can not help being attracted by their beauty.
Rolandsen has invented a new process for manufacturing fish-glue, the commodity which is the main source of Trader Mack's wealth; yet Rolandsen, who works as a telegraph operator, lacks sufficient funds to get his invention out into the world. Thus the tale becomes one of money and power, as well as, of course, of love and lust.
In Dreamers, Hamsun handles his plot with a light and assured touch, and the novel is charming. However, Dreamers is definitely not one of Hamsun's best, and also the book suffers a bit from bad translation into English. Even so, it is a great read, and a must for lovers of Knut Hamsun.
See also the short biography of Knut Hamsun.
Benoni and Rosa, by Knut Hamsun
Knut Hamsun is one of the most well known Norwegian writers internationally. He is also a Nobel prize winner in literature. His writing style is poetic, playful, ironic and beautiful.
Benoni and Rosa by Knut Hamsun is a double novel, the first is Benoni, and Rosa the second and continuation. The books tell the story of Benoni Hartvigsen, a local mail man, who becomes rich more or less over night. The local big-shot, Ferdinand Mack, makes him a partner in his business, and helps him court the daughter of the local priest, the very lovely and extemely attractive Rosa.
Benoni and Rosa are two of the "lighter" stories written by Knut Hamsun. They are concerned with the changes in the character of Benoni, as well as in the people knowing him, that result from the radical change in circumstances that Benoni Hartvigsen experiences. To a large extent the description of this character and how he changes resembles a book by another Norwegian author, Johan Falkberget, entitled Bør Børson.
In both cases sweet innocent men who suddenly become rich, change into what may best be described as megalomaniacs. Rapid changes in circumstance is a theme that has attracted much attention both in classical and more modern literature, and Hamsun's take on this theme is among the more interesting ones. The twists and turns in the odd relationship between Benoni and Rosa along with the "rags to riches" motif provide the dynamics of the story.
Thus this is a rich tale of personal change, rivalry in love and business, social and personal change, as well as love, courtship and passion. It is a story about the basic ingridients of life itself, told by a master storyteller and keen observer. Both as a love story and as a study of changing circumstances, Benoni and Rosa are excellent.
Benoni and Rosa tell an entertaining story, with lots of warmth, humor and irony. The language is outstanding; clear and concise, and a treat in itself. Benoni and Rosa definitely are among Hamsun's best!
See our Knut Hamsun biography, which also lists some Hamsun biographies. Also, you can read more about Knut Hamsun at leserglede.com and at the Danish Knut Hamsun site. See also our reviews of the movies Hamsun and Hunger.