A warning: this is one of the most disturbing books I’ve ever read. It’s not horror, it’s not gory, it’s not violent, yet as I read it in a park on a sunny day, I found myself shivering uncontrollably. In this semi-autobiographical novel published in 1890, the unnamed protagonist paces the streets of Kristiania (now Oslo), starving and alone, attempting to make a living as a writer.
His days are split into two parts: solitude and interactions. Alone, he talks to himself, makes grand plans for his future, and lauds his own classy intellect — even as he sinks into the depths of poverty. Sat in parks or cemeteries, he writes articles, plays and essays. Each seems like the greatest thing ever written and he’s sure it will make him rich. His writing fills him with tremendous self-confidence.
But that confidence rarely survives even the briefest conversation. Each time he talks to someone, anyone — shopkeepers, a pawnbroker, old men, landladies, the police, editors — it ends the same way. He lies compulsively, attempts to portray himself as some important figure, is ashamed of his visible poverty, and grows irrationally angry at nothing. Afterwards, he’s furious at himself for behaving that way. And yet he can’t stop. His life grows lonelier and lonelier as he forces himself to stop needing the presence of other people.
If you enjoy Hunger, I’d also suggest reading >Martin Eden, perhaps Jack London’s least well-known book that covers similar themes. It’s about the isolation of being a young writer in an unforgiving world, struggling to turn your life into art and to find a way to survive the endless failures and rejections.
Source : https://medium.com/swlh/12-books-about-solitude-all-introverts-should-read-32e9db915d94