“The long, long road over the moors and up into the forest—who trod it into being first of all? Man, a human being, the first that came here. There was no path before he came.” 
Growth of the Soil is about man and nature, blood and soil–specifically how a man named Isak cultivates a patch of land and builds a gigantic farm that is eventually subjected to state tax and regulation. Laborious and industrious, Isak builds up his farm from scratch, with help from the later-arrived Inger, with whom he starts a family. Each chapter focuses on addition to the farm and occasionally new homesteaders move in, some good, hard-working people who build patiently from the ground up, as well as others not so fortuitous, with ulterior motives, who try to make the easy buck and build from the top down, and thus, end in frustration if not ruin.
There was no knowing the place again, after what it had been at first: sawmill, grain mill, buildings of all sorts and kinds—the wilderness was peopled country now. And there was more to come. But Inger was perhaps the strangest of all; so altered she was, and good and clever again. 
His altered wife, who had been living away in the city for 8 years, upon return, has become a bane to the self-sufficient man who is contented with his hard labor. Even if the old helper Oline is lying and manipulating, the rural woman is in the same league as Isak who appreciate traditional values and resist changes. Hamsun’s characters are all double sided, who possess inevitable vices but are not evil, not without a capacity for mercy and tenderness.
At roughly trisecting points of the book are passing quotations read like “so life went on day by day, without any great event.”  These remarks are indicative of the insouciant pace of the novel, which can be trying at times. The story is rich in obscure symbolism , but lacks dramatic force, begging for very tedious reading. The subject matter is weighty and complex (i.e. social justice), with strong undertones of political liberalism. Coverage on trial for infanticide is disturbing .The overall reading pace is slow and ponderous. While it’s book worth reading, the wisdom as proclaimed by those who sing praises that the book exudes doesn’t impress enough to register in my mind. I’m still underwhelmed.
435 pp. [Read/Skim/Toss] In 1920, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. He insisted that the main object of modern literature ought to be the intricacies of the human mind