«Written by me. Written today for my heart’s relief. I have lost my job at the cafe, and all my happiness. I have lost everything. And the café was the Café Maximilian. Each evening a young gentleman wearing grey would come in with two friends and sit at one of my tables. So many young gentlemen came, and all of them had a friendly greeting for me – but not this one. He was tall and thin, with soft, black hair and blue eyes, which now and then I caught looking at me. There were the beginnings of a small moustache on his upper lip. (”Slaves of Love”)»

2017-04-2613:05 Viktor Håkonsen

Brushwood (1903) is a collection of thirteen short prose texts. The themes include art, politics, travellers tales and love.

In "Slaves of Love" , the first story in the collection, we meet one of Hamsun’s very few female main characters. A young waitress falls in love with one of her customers; he, for his part, is obsessed by another woman. And yet the female narrator is quite unable to free herself from her dream of her beloved.

Love is also the theme of ”The Call of Life”. One evening a young writer, H*** , is seduced by a young woman. The following morning, as he is about to leave her apartment, he comes across the corpse of her recently deceased husband lying in his coffin.

The length of these stories varies, from two to three pages to as many as eighteen.

Front page, first edition of Krattskog (Brushwood). Photo: The Hamsun Centre.