«The water was as clear as a mirror yesterday and is as clear again today. This is an Indian summer and it’s warm on the island – oh how mild and warm it is! – but there’s no sun. It’s years now since I’ve known such peace, twenty or thirty maybe, perhaps in some earlier life. For it seems to me I must have known such peace before, the way I walk along here humming, and in ecstasy, mindful of each stone and each blade of grass, and these seem mindful of me too. We know each other.»

2017-04-2613:12 Viktor Håkonsen

Under the Autumn Star (1906) is the first volume in the so-called wanderer trilogy. The main character here has Hamsun’s own real name, Knut Pedersen.

Pedersen is a middle-aged writer in flight from the city and the modern age. He wanders around, picking up work where he can, wandering on again. On the Øvrebø farm he is an observer of the unhappy marriage between Captain Falkenberg and his wife Lovise. When he begins to find himself attracted to the lady he moves on. Not until long afterwards does he find that his feelings were reciprocated.

The novel’s muted and melancholic style is suffused with the sense of longing and sadness for lost youth. There are also intense and lyrical descriptions of nature and a number of acute psychological portraits.

«Drink – well, of course I do. No sense in only eating ....»

«Where are you off to? I don’t know. East or west. We’re wanderers.»

Front cover, first edition of Under høstjernen (Under the Autumn Star). Courtesy of the National Library of Norway.