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'Knut Hamsun founded the modernist and postmodernist novel at once' writes James Wood in his introduction to this seminal work by a Nobel Prize-winning writer who has been recognised as one of the greatest literary figures of the twentieth century. A young man called John Nagel arrives to spend a summer in a small Norwegian coastal town, a stranger in a loud yellow suit who begins to behave very curiously. He shocks, bewilders and beguiles with his open defiance and erratic self-revelations. Nagel's presence acts as a catalyst for the hidden impulses, concealed thoughts and darker instincts of the townsfolk. Cursed with the ability to understand the human soul, especially his own, Nagel can foresee, but cannot prevent, his own destruction.
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Knut Hamsun's writing is magical, his sentences are glowing, he could write about anything and make it alive. -- Karl Ove Knausgaard the inventor of a certain kind of modern fictionality. Hamsun's development of the stream of consciousness becomes particularly beautiful, and extremely comic .... Mysteries is as great as Hunger. -- James Wood Hamsun is one of the great writers of this century - his nearest British equivalent being I suspect Thomas Hardy. Hamsun's novels have a unique beauty of expression. * Sunday Times * Hamsun has the qualities that belong to the very great, the completest omniscience about human nature. -- Rebecca West A rare understanding of human nature comes through, expressed in a measured, elegiac and lyrical prose. * Sunday Telegraph * With Mysteries, Hamsun rewrote the novel's rules * Guardian *
Born in 1859, Knut Hamsun published a stunning series of novels in the 1890s - Hunger (1890), Mysteries (1892) and Pan (1894). He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1920 for Growth of the Soil.