The Last Joy (1912) is the final volume of the wanderer trilogy, and the last of Hamsun’s novels to be written in the first person singular.
The narrator is staying at Torahus, a guest-house in the mountains. Here he falls in love with a young schoolteacher, Ingeborg Torsen, but his love remains platonic. Ingeborg becomes an image of the new woman, the Torsen type, a professional woman wasting her life on trivialities. Salvation for Ingeborg Torsen comes in the form of her encounter with the stolid farmer, Nikolai, and life as a farmer’s wife and a mother.
The social criticism of A Wanderer Plays on Muted Strings is accentuated here, but The Last Joy lacks both the melancholy and lyricism of the two earlier wanderer books.
«To go away and sit alone in the forest with the good darkness all around me. That is the last joy.»