Welcome back friends for another EaL book review. This time we will be discussing Knut Hamsun’s epic Growth Of The Soil. Written in 1917 this book won the author the 1920 Nobel Prize in literature by relating the fictional tale of hard working settlers in the Norwegian Highlands.
The tale begins with Isak’s humble entry into a wooded valley by the river and his ensuing efforts to settle the area. From there it effortlessly flows through the years to his burgeoning family and community as the wilds become more populated with both man and beast working together to build a life. With great depth and description Hamsun weaves masculine virtues such as honor, respect, patience, and humility into the novel by way of the main characters. Isak himself is the picture of hard work and dedication. Always thinking of the needs of his family, providing for them with only the sweat of his brow and ingenuity. No shortcuts, lofty ideals, or get rich quick schemes here, only conviction to the task at hand whether it be raising a barn or a child. Stolid throughout but in good humour, our protagonist does not utter a word of fatigue or complaint to anyone, a valuable lesson for men everywhere.
Besides these points, this novel has done what many have failed to do of late, and that is put a smile on face. When you read it you will know what I’m talking about. If you’re looking for a novel about family, community, virtue, and a man raising himself from his bootstraps then Growth Of The Soil is for you my friend. 5/5 this is a page turner you will finish quickly and enjoy.