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 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.' ...more
More like a textbook of all the worlds myths than anything else, this encyclopedia is interesting to peruse at your leisure. I loved it so much becausMore like a textbook of all the worlds myths than anything else, this encyclopedia is interesting to peruse at your leisure. I loved it so much because it was able to point me in the direction of some of the most epic yarns ever woven from the beginning of recorded time to recent history. I still to this day look fondly through it from time to time....more