16 August 2013

I Don't Often Recommend a Book Halfway through, but...

Inger grew despondent at last, the wilds oppressed her, she turned religious. How could she help it? No one can help it in the wilds; life there is not all earthly toil and worldliness; there is piety and the fear of death and rich superstition. Inger, maybe, felt that she had more reason than others to fear the judgment of Heaven, and it would not pass her by; she knew how God walked about in the evening time looking out over all His wilderness with fabulous eyes; ay, He would find her. There was not so much in her daily life wherein she could improve; true, she might bury her gold ring deep in the bottom of a clothes chest, and she could write to Eleseus and tell him to be converted too; after that, there was nothing more she could find beyond doing her work well and not sparing herself. Ay, one thing more; she could dress in humble things, only fastening a blue ribbon at her neck of Sundays. False, unnecessary poverty—but it was the expression of a kind of philosophy, self-humiliation, stoicism. The blue ribbon was not new; it had been cut from a cap little Leopoldine had grown out of; it was faded here and there, and, to tell the truth, a little dirty—Inger wore it now as a piece of modest finery on holy days. Ay, it may be that she went beyond reason, feigning to be poor, striving falsely to imitate the wretched who live in hovels; but even so—would her desert have been greater if that sorry finery had been her best? Leave her in peace; she has a right to peace!

Excerpt From: Knut Hamsun, Growth of the Soil.

I'm in the middle of this book and it is just fantastic.

1 comment:

Scott Woltze said...

Thanks, I just downloaded a free e-version from amazon.

In keeping with your recent Blessed John Henry Newman theme, I heartily recommend both his novels: "Callista" and "Loss and Gain". There are many free e-book versions available. Callista brings to life both North Africa and the persecution under the Emperor Decius. Loss and Gain shows the many splits in protestantism in 1850s England, and gives you a taste of university life amidst the Oxford Movement and the emergence of catholicism in England.