Well, well, well, Miss Undset has made it onto my 10-star list. She should be proud. She also won a Nobel Prize for her work, so there is that. Her Kr...more Well, well, well, Miss Undset has made it onto my 10-star list. She should be proud. She also won a Nobel Prize for her work, so there is that. Her Kristin Lavransdatter books are unquestionably works of massive scope on par with JRR Tolkien's Lord Of the Rings. A strange comparison, you say? Well I agree with you. The only thing that comes to mind immediately is the length of the two. But there is so much more. Where LOTR was preparation for battle with Sauron's forces, Kristin Lavransdatter was an intimate look into a Norwegian community. It's the attention to detail that struck me as similar. Tolkien and Undset both took such great care to imbue their work with eternal life. They captured that elusive something that can't be described, or rather could be described in many different ways. Undset obviously did massive research into 14th Century Norwegian customs before she put pen to paper. The community is not, like in so many other books, a static thing that serves as a canvas for the main character to travel across without resistance. In this sense the book displays Newtons Third Law. Each action Kristin makes is met with an equal and opposite reaction from her community. Such is reality. Sadly...
The great wisdom this book imparted on me is what made it unforgettable. It's so layered that it portrays almost all aspects of a woman's life during the 14th century.(I specify the era because many things have changed since then but I wish to stress that I noticed that the similarities between the times are more prominent than the differences) Talk about a woman's perspective! Every budding teenage boy wanting to understand the complexities of a woman's mind should read this. Never before did I realize how different men and women really are.
And the layers! How layered life actually is. Everything is like a circle within a circle within a circle with the inner most circle eventually becoming our intimate other. The second and third book are like a survival guide for the married couple. Erlend and Kristin are not always perfectly faithful - there are minor(well, you could call them major) mishaps between the two - but they never truly stop loving each other. They never stop caring for each other and their children, like most normal parents do. Now I can appreciate how remarkable my mom and pops really are, how truly magnificent women can be, and what it means to bring a life into this world. In fact, there is nothing that I didn't not not like about this book(double negatives included). There is magic, most who know me will attest to my love of all things magical. The prose are humble yet beautiful in there delivery. All in all the book was masterful. It taught me to appreciate life, not just my life but also the lives that are close to mine, more. And to quote Kurt Vonnegut 'If that isn't nice, I don't know what is.' (less)
After having finished this book mere minutes ago I am left feeling enlightened. Herman Hesse's literary prowess and philosophical points resonate with...moreAfter having finished this book mere minutes ago I am left feeling enlightened. Herman Hesse's literary prowess and philosophical points resonate within me. This book exudes worldly knowledge that, being of a younger age, I couldn't fully appreciate yet. Nonetheless, like all of us, I have been frustrated with life. I have suffered, felt hate, sought peace, and I too fear the end of this life. Hesse's work has served to quiet my soul and at the moment all I feel is quiet contentment, much like Siddhartha. This book just became one of my all time favorites.(less)
WARNING If you are reading this then this warning is for you. Every word you read of this useless fine print is another second off your life. Don't you...moreWARNING If you are reading this then this warning is for you. Every word you read of this useless fine print is another second off your life. Don't you have other things to do? Is your life so empty that you honestly can't think of a better way to spend these moments? Or are you so impressed with authority that you give respect and credence to all who claim it? Do you read everything you're supposed to read? Do you think everything you're supposed to think? Buy what you're told you should want? Get out of your apartment. Meet a member of the opposite sex. Stop the excessive shopping and masturbation. Quit your job. Start a fight. Prove you're alive. If you don't claim your humanity you will become a statistic. You have been warned.(less)