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SIESTA

«You travel round, drift here and there, and sometimes you meet people you’ve met before, but suddenly, and in unexpected places, so that you quite forget to raise your hat and greet them. This happens to me often, really quite often. There’s nothing to be done about it. ("The Queen of Sheba")»

1897
2017-04-2612:56 Viktor Håkonsen

Siesta (1897) is a collection of twelve short texts. These vary in length, but most have a first-person narrator who is an active participant in the story.

"The Queen of Sheba", the first tale, describes the narrator’s mysterious fascination with a beautiful woman, a fascination which persists for several years and finally sees him crossing borders between countries. "Reiersen of the Southern Star" describes the aging Skipper Reiersen’s final trip to the North Norwegian fish-drying grounds, and his meeting there with an old flame. The short-story is believed to have inspired the later novel Dreamers (1904).

Most of the short stories in Siesta had been published previously. Hamsun described the book as "a collection of minor things ".

Front cover, first edition of Siesta. Photo: The Hamsun Centre.