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Featuring an iconoclastic hero who refuses to accept the standards of his society, this novel is one of the Nobel Prize–winner’s greatest works. The only son of a miserly lighthouse-keeper and an alcoholic mother, Abel grows up in a remote Norwegian village then travels around the United States. Upon returning from America as a young man, Abel falls in love with his longtime acquaintance Olga, the pharmacist’s daughter. Haunted by the secrets of his travels, however, Abel determines to live on the barest of necessities and pursue a life without desire or ambition. Available in the United States for the first time since the 1930s, this controversial novel features themes that are strikingly contemporary.

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