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Frank-Tommy Olsen (ramsund@xtra.co.nz) (New Zealand)

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On Overgrown Paths (Green Integer)
On Overgrown Paths (Green Integer)
von Knut Hamsun
  Taschenbuch

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5.0 von 5 Sternen The Grand Finale, 8. Oktober 1999
Then, after the second world war, after the harassment, the trial and humilation of the country's great literate hero, after the psycological hospital and the statement that Hamsun was old and senile and could not stand responsible for his thoughts and actions - then in 1949 this fantastic book was published for the first time. Written by a 90 year old Knut Hamsun, it is a document from the time, a diary of what happened to him and which were his thoughts. The book is marvellous. Hamsun still possessed the craft and the capability of telling an accurate and tensely atmosperic story to the full. It is just unbelievable that it is written by a 90 year old man, whom when he died in 1952, with this book left his final footprint, in history and in literature. A book anybody should read and find pleasure from. From his first acknowledged work "Hunger" (1890) to this, his last one, the man and his books were unique. Knut Hamsun left the literary world, as he came, in a storm.


Under the Autumn Star (Sun & Moon Classics)
Under the Autumn Star (Sun & Moon Classics)
von Knut Hamsun
  Taschenbuch

4.0 von 5 Sternen A smooth and good novel, 31. August 1999
"Yesterday the sea was smooth as a mirror; it is smooth as a mirror today." That way the novel opens and it continues elegant and skilfully crafted by the master Knut Hamsun. It is the story about the wanderer Knut Pedersen (actually Hamsun's real name), wandering around the Norwegian countryside doing such work as he can find, while having his eyes wide open to study nature and his fellow human beings. "Under the Autumn Star" was first published in 1906 and the story about Knut Pedersen is continued in "On Muted Strings" from 1909. Both novels manage to hold the story and the atmosphere on the same high level all the way through, and they have earlier been published together in the same volume called "The Wanderer". Oliver and Gunnvor Stalllybrass have also done a very good translation. This is writing of very high quality and joyful reading, but not as fantastic as Hamsun's masterpieces as "Hunger", "Mysteries", "Pan", "Victoria" and "Growth of the Soil", though some pieces can remind a bit of "Mysteries", among else when he has a go against Henrik Ibsen who died the same year "Under the Autumn Star" was published.


Sun Also Rises
Sun Also Rises
von Ernest Hemingway
  Taschenbuch

5.0 von 5 Sternen Hemingway at his best!!, 2. Juli 1999
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Sun Also Rises (Taschenbuch)
American expatriates and a spoilt English Upper Class woman in Europe in the 1920s, the gay life in Paris, troutfishing and bullfighting, the Fiesta in Pamplona - the ingredients Hemingway so brilliantly used to construct one of the 20th century`s most famous and read novels. Here Hemingway`s structure, his narrative style with the simple use of language really came on display for the first time. A book that totally gripped me and fascinated me. Excellent, brilliant, simply Ernest Hemingway!


The Complete Short Stories Of Ernest Hemingway: The Finca Vigia Edition
The Complete Short Stories Of Ernest Hemingway: The Finca Vigia Edition
von Ernest Hemingway
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 13,99

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5.0 von 5 Sternen A master of telling a story, 30. Juni 1999
The greatest short story writers history produced so far; Chekov, Gorky, Korolenko, Maupassant, Bashevis Singer, William Trevor and of course Hemingway, were more than anything else masters of this type of fiction. Even if they all wrote other great pieces, they were (Trevor still is) truly dedicated to the short story. Ernest Hemingway even said that he had "never yet set out to write a novel - it's always a short story that moves into being a novel". Hemingway's short stories are of the type of fiction that grows on you - becomes better with time - and can be read over and over again. You are brought into the "Hemingway world", have a scene or an event described so vivid that you are almost present, and when the story is over not much might have happened, but you have been there - you felt it and saw it - it all happened there in front of you. Such a big collection of stories over decades of writing will have a few pieces less good than some of the other most brilliant ones, but they are all interesting. From "A very short story" - only two pages long, but with the essence of what really happened between Hemingway and the Red Cross nurse in Italy, that later was to be A Farewell to Arms - to the best known, like "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber", "Hills like White Elephants", "Cat in the Rain" and "The Snows of Kilimanjaro". Personally I have many other favourites and I will probably come back to them and keep reading Hemingway stories for the rest of my life.


The Catcher in the Rye
The Catcher in the Rye
von J.D. Salinger
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 6,99

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5.0 von 5 Sternen Holden Caulfield was not a bad boy and this is a great book!, 29. Juni 1999
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Catcher in the Rye (Taschenbuch)
I have got quite a big personal library during the years. At some stage I bought both The Catcher in the Rye and Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger, but never got around to read them. Finally on a trip to Europe a couple of months ago, stopping in New York on the way, I packed The Catcher in the Rye in my luggage. As it is set in New York I started reading it on the plane from New York to London. And did I enjoy it?! Man, what have I been thinking, waiting so long? I got so much on terms with Holden Caulfield, that I started to write like him in a couple of letters I wrote. The evening I arrived in London there was a brilliant documentary about J.D. Salinger on TV. I was totally absorbed, and enjoyed every page of the book, admired Salinger's portrayal of adolescence. Such a comic and touching novel. I continued to read it on the train up north through Sweden and at some stage laughed so much I had to put the book down - people were looking strangely at me. They just fitted into the book, had probably never read it. I have and I loved every bit of it. Not to be missed, so don't wait, just go ahead and read it!


Death in Venice
Death in Venice
von Thomas Mann
  Bibliothekseinband

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3.0 von 5 Sternen A good novella, but far from perfect, 28. Juni 1999
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Death in Venice (Bibliothekseinband)
Death in Venice has at times a spellbinding atmosphere. At times it is also displaying Mann's magnificent register of using the language, actually more often than rare, that alone enough to make the book worth reading. But I don't find the story strong and gripping enough. That the main character with the mind and soul of an artist is falling in love with a pretty boy is an interesting angle of approach, and would have been even more chocking to the reader in 1911 when Mann wrote the novella. To me the weakest parts seem to be the beginning of the book, before he is approaching Venice by sea, and the ending of it. On those crucial parts of the book I find Mann as the author and creator too much present, while the fifty pages in the middle are superb craftsmanship, where one is taken away by the atmosphere and his wonderful descriptions. Still, the book is a classic and well worth the reading.


An Enemy of the People (Dover Thrift Editions)
An Enemy of the People (Dover Thrift Editions)
von Henrik Ibsen
  Taschenbuch

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5.0 von 5 Sternen One of the greatest plays, never loosing it's actuality, 25. Juni 1999
Henrik Ibsen wrote An Enemy of the People in fury, after how the critics treated his previous play Ghosts. He had expected the so called Liberal press to receive Ghosts with a some what greater understanding. Instead he found himself "fighting at the outposts of thought", while the Liberal press were slaves of their subscribers' opinions and following them instead of leading them. An Enemy of the People were written with satirical intention, but became one of his most brilliantly crafted social dramas. I have read it several times and admire every page of it. Ibsen was ahead of his time then, and in many respects still ahead of our time. A solid five stars!


Growth of the Soil
Growth of the Soil
von Knut Hamsun
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 12,49

5.0 von 5 Sternen Fantastic portrait with great human insight, 21. Juni 1999
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Growth of the Soil (Taschenbuch)
People have different opinions of which was the greatest of Knut Hamsun's novels, and very often one of the works from the 1890s will range highest. People also have a lot to say about Hamsun's terms with Nazi-Germany and which made the common Norwegian to see him as a betrayer. He was their greatest hero, up there with King Haakon and Fridtjof Nansen. All these circumstances are more complex to be drawn up here, so let's stay with the fact that Hamsun was one of the greatest and most influential authors of all time. "Growth of the Soil" is the book that secured him the Nobel Prize for literature in 1920, the book the common man of the day valued more than any other of his works, the book that the Germans had printed in "field-editions" to send with their soldiers to the fronts. But this is not an ideally portrait of the values in life - it is a very accurate description of how the life was in the outback for these early settlers, how extremely simple they were. It was not because they had achieved a great understanding of the meaning of life, readers in that belief are totally wrong. They had no choice, were not on terms with their inner-self at all, did not know comfort and beautiful music, could not afford to be fastidious. I can't think of any other book in world literature that comes anywhere near "Growth of the Soil" in portraying these simple, unsophisticated people breaking the land and struggle to live. I am sure this could be the life story of several of my ancestors in North-Norway, the diaries of their lives, but they (like Isak) could not read or write or tell their story. Instead Knut Hamsun has done it with such wisdom, humour and tenderness and most of all his great talent, that in many respects this is his best work


Rosshalde
Rosshalde
von Hermann Hesse
  Taschenbuch

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4.0 von 5 Sternen Elegant Hesse idyll, 18. Mai 1999
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Rosshalde (Taschenbuch)
The book is as beautiful as it is sad. Set in beauty amongst the lime tree garden with its flowers and strawberries, the lake, the painters studio, the big beautiful house with a dear boy, a beautiful wife and the famous painter himself. Still nothing is as it should be. Then there is the travelling friend and the longing for something else. In Rosshalde Hermann Hesse constructed a very pleasant novel. A sad one, but with all the beautiful ingredients of art, nature, people, feelings and Hesse's language and art of story telling.


Short Stories (Norton Critical Editions)
Short Stories (Norton Critical Editions)
von Anton Chekhov
  Taschenbuch

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5.0 von 5 Sternen The greatest of them all, 12. Mai 1999
This is something of the most precious literature I own. Of all the greatest short story writers; Gorky, Korolenko, Maupassant, Hemingway, Bashevis Singer and latest William Trevor - Chekov was the greatest of them all. Fantastic!!!


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