I won’t pretend I’m as good a writer as Knut Hamsun. I won’t even pretend I’m even one tenth as good: the man won a Nobel Prize for literature.

But I’d like to leave that aside, and concentrate on the actual book itself. Victoria – published in 1898 – is quite a short book. The translation I read comes across perfectly well, and I always wonder, when reading any translation, whether the translator has chosen the Constance Garnett route of unadorned translation, or chosen to “amend” the prose in the way they see fit.

The plot of the book is, on the surface, simple. Early on it’s established that the humble miller’s son is unworthy of the beautiful Victoria, daughter of the master of the local manor house. He, of course, is madly in love with her. And then, of course, he meets her fiance… Read more