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First published in Norway in 1890, 'Hunger' probes the depths of consciousness with frightening and gripping power. Contemptemptuous of novels of his time and what he saw as their stereotypical plots and empty characters, Knut Hamsun embarked on 'an attempt to describe the strange, peculiar life of the mind, the mysteries of the nerves in a starving body.' Like the works of Dostoyevsky, 'Hunger' marks an extraordinary break with the Western literary and humanistic traditions. In a moment-by-moment internal monologue, Hamsun reveals the profound anguish of a struggling writer facing the possibility of death in a world indifferent to his existence. A hero alienated from society, plagued by the vicissitudes of fate and raging against heaven, is old as literature itself; it is the protagonist's awareness of the absurdity of his situation - and of the human condition in general - that makes him a totally modern figure.