The Growth of the Soil is about Isak and the work on his land in the wilds. Over time, he grows more prosperous, there are more people and more technology, but Isak never deviates from his work. He never lets anything change him.
There isn't much that really happens, but the book solidifies the message that we don't need money, education, glory, or expansion. All we need is the soil, the earth, to give us everything we want, in return, we will get peace. Moving away from the earth makes us anxious, delicate,and lazy.
I didn't mind that there wasn't an overarching plot. There were small scenes of importance, but the character development was more important, and Hamsun does well showing change over time. However, if you are someone that needs to have a cliffhanger to keep you reading, this isn't the book for you. This is a book about a man, the people surrounding him, and their work on and off the land.