booklady's Reviews > The Cross

The Cross by Sigrid Undset
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Nov 05, 11

bookshelves: 2011, classic, fiction, historical-fiction, literature, must-have, worth-reading-over-and-over, favorites
Read from October 23 to November 03, 2011

When I closed the cover on this mammoth trilogy (1069 pages) I just sat there reflecting on the long lifespan of the titular character—from the late 13th to the mid 14th century.

I reread the last two pages lingeringly, not wanting the book to end. That more than anything I think is the sign of a good story; you don't want to leave it. In the book, Kristin Lavransdatter, you come to really know the woman by that name. You walk her life from earliest childhood to death in old age and even though you may not always agree with her choices, you come to understand them—or at least I did. She was a very sympathetic character because, while far from perfect, she loved so deeply and passionately where she did love; she learned from her mistakes and she forgave whole-heartedly.

A fascinating story which I found myself thinking about when I wasn’t reading it, longing to get back to and yet hoping it would never end. The best book about the Middle Ages I’ve ever read. I know why it won the 1928 Nobel Prize.

I read the more arcane of the two available translations—because that was the one I had. Eventually I’d like to read it in the more accessible translation and see how much more I get out of it.

Most highly recommended.
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Comments (showing 1-12 of 12) (12 new)

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message 1: by rebecca (new)

rebecca loved that book!I read an older translation but still enjoyed it tremendously!


booklady Yes. I find myself reluctant to start anything else. I know whatever I start won't quite live up to it, so I don't want to be disappointed. Also, I am still 'with' Kristin' ... in her world so to speak. (sigh)


message 3: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Thanks for this review! I have had the trilogy sitting on my bookshelf for three or four years and haven't had the courage to tackle it, yet...your mention of two translations, caused me to do a bit of research...I think I will try and get a copy of the newer translation:
http://www.norway.org/ARCHIVE/culture...
Hugs to you!


message 4: by booklady (last edited Nov 07, 2011 06:24AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

booklady Thanks Jennifer for the link! I'd heard of Tiina Nunnally's translation and it does sound wonderful. I'm planning to get it on my new Kindle, my Christmas present this year. ☺

Like you, my copy of Kristin Lavransdatter sat on my shelf for years. The book was so thick I thought I'd never get through it, but like most really good classics, you quickly discover it isn't big or long enough. You want it go on and on forever.

I also want to check out some of Undset's other works.


message 5: by rebecca (new)

rebecca interesting! "parts were left out"???I may have to read this again only the new version, also!


booklady I missed that on the first go through. Makes you wonder doesn't it?! What parts? What was the basis of them being left out...?!


message 7: by sckenda (new)

sckenda I bought the new Penguin translation, but it has all three books in one. It is thick and intimidating looking, but I look to read it as it always makes the list of great novels of that time period, especially those lists celebrating Catholic fiction.


booklady You will LOVE it! I PROMISE!


Paul Gaya Ochieng Simeon Juma I bought this last book of the trilogy yesterday.I want to read it before reading the others. Do you advise?


booklady You can, but it is better if you read them in order. This is truly one of those once-in-a-lifetime sagas which you will never forget. I cannot recommend it too highly! I'm sure you would still enjoy the last book on its own, but you would miss some of the deeper story meanings because you wouldn't know what had transpired earlier and how that was now affecting the characters because of their past errors, sins, joys or sorrows.


Paul Gaya Ochieng Simeon Juma Thanks a lot booklady. Am excited about the whole book, your review makes me want to read it even more.


Paul Gaya Ochieng Simeon Juma This book was a favorite! I enjoyed it a lot. Thanks for the encouraging review.


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