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In the Wilderness

(The Master of Hestviken #3)

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  345 ratings  ·  25 reviews
It is Norway in the thirteenth century, a land rent by unremitting warfare and feebly lit by Christianity. Olav Audunsson was once an outlaw; now he is a man of wealth and stature. But he is haunted by the memory of crimes for which there is no easy atonement and by losses that may never be redeemed.
Paperback, 208 pages
Published June 24th 1995 by Vintage (first published 1927)
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Such a raw, realistic, emotional, and timeless story of the human plight.
Mar 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
You have to read all four books! I ended up reading this one last only because I had to wait for it ordered. Wow. They are all amazing. Can't believe a writer from the 1920's could have handwritten and published this much material. ...more
The penultimate volume of Sigrid Undset's Master of Hestviken tetralogy, In the Wilderness finds Olav Audunsson mourning the death of Ingunn, his wife of about 20 years. In her absence, all ties he has to the world, to Hestviken (his family estate), to his daughter Cecilia, and to Eirik, the bastard son he has raised as his own, seem faint and weak. When two merchants visit him to make a business proposal, Olav finds himself on a voyage to England, where he experiences temptation, and extraordin ...more
Feb 12, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Highs and lows in abundance here. Olav just can't get a break but his own stubbornness has something to do with the situation...
Undset really plumbs the depths of man's misery here. If the prior book was about Ingunn's trials and woe, here Olav gets his due and then some. His disappointment in his son, his isolation, whoa. But then there is the battle which Undset really uses well as a break from the misery for a bit of excitement and martial joy.
Nov 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This third volume of Sigrid Undset's THE MASTER OF HESTVIKEN enhances the saga of a medieval manor heir Auden Audensson, The Master of Hestviken. . Readers have to be aware that this saga is not for the faint hearted or the causual reader. You have to be a serious reader to undertake such a challenge. Undset was converted to Catholicism after her marriage to a previously married Italian man she had an affair with during her time in Italy. She took her conversion seriously. This saga is abundant ...more
Mar 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
This was the most difficult of the series. So much guilt and misery. I could not keep track of the characters, and their connections. The end was better, one more book to go.
Aug 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Definitely worth reading if you are reading the whole series (The Master of Hestviken); however, not as riveting as the previous two books.
A.K. Frailey
Sep 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
An excellent, though sad story. I felt emotionally exhausted sometimes reading through the morass of human emotions, but the writing quality was always beyond reproach. I had to read in small doses to keep from getting too disheartened. I kept wishing the characters would make better choices. Made me think more deeply about my own choices...
Jul 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
© 1929. Third book in the Master of Hestviken series set in 1300s Norway. Olav takes a trip, completely alienates his son, and fights in a war. The violence is gruesome, as is the recovery from injuries, when there were few effective remedies. Olav confronts himself and makes a little progress in his spiritual growth.
Apr 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Not her best of this 4part series still word paintings of landscape and feudal Norway
Feb 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
Olav goes through a 14th-century midlife crisis. Good next step in the series.
R.K. Cowles
Apr 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
3 1/4 stars
Barbara Corbalis
Jan 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
I like this one best so far. The main character avtually grows a bit. Some of his struggles are universal, and his inner thoughts are thoughts all men have at some point in life.
Tom Johnson
Aug 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I'll have to come back and fill this in - now I must begin the fourth and final book - however I have to note that chapter 3 (the shape shifter Ingunn) was most surreal & fascinating - this book deserves a second reading though I doubt that my understanding would improve much - this wilderness is indeed thick with mysticism, Mary worship (understandably so especially for men having to shift from pagan gods to Christianity) and man's struggle in understanding and submitting to God (I cannot help ...more
Sharron Dupree
Feb 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Third of the tetralogy.

The author, Sigred Undset, considered The Master of Hestviking Tetrology to be better than Kristen Lavraansdatter, the trilogy for which she won the Nobel Prize.
Jul 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
The beginning of this book is somewhat laborious, however it is worth it to stick it out to the end. I guess my initial thoughts are that the Catholic Church has a long history of inflicting guilt on people. This book, set in medieval times really sets out what sin and guilt will do to an otherwise "good" person--if you can consider a murderer and adulterer to be a good person:) (it's too bad birth control wasn't available in this time and place. It certainly could have helped these characters a ...more
Mark Werderitsch
The series slows wih each novel

In the Wilderness is the fourth in a four novel series following an eight year old boy named Olav through his coming of age, unhappy marriage to a chronically ill wife, and now, well into his forties, through a war between his native Norway and Denmark. In between are his reflections on a moral issue he wrestles with.
The translation was done in about 1930 and uses many archaic words and phrases, and all are in very archaic English. Also, as I read more, I find thes
Feb 16, 2013 rated it liked it
I started this book in Norway last summer. I can see why Sigrid Undset won a Nobel prize. It is very well written. For me the strength of the book is the psychological study of Olav Audunsson. If I had it to do over, though, I would have started with volume 1 of the series. There were too many background facts I didn't have to understand the plot and characters as well as I would have liked. And I couldn't find a good synopsis of the whole series online. I was also a little disappointed in the e ...more
Jul 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
This novel is the 3rd of four, and they should be read all together and in sequence. It is also necessary to read a proper translation, not one of the translators who tries to modernize the novels and reduce them to their more simplistic elements. All that said, I've throughly enjoyed the story, albeit tragic, of the two lovers Olav and Ingunn. This third novel in the series focuses on Olav and is a psychological study of who the young boy has become in these, his middle aged years. While I as a ...more
John O'Brien
Feb 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
After the dreariness and tragedy of the previous volume (The Snake Pit), Olav leaves Hestviken and travels to England where he has quasi-mystical experiences that help him process his loss. But he is still not willing to face and manifest the deeds buried in his past. Thus, he hardens, even as he exhibits at the exterior level, the probity of Christian life.
As Vol 3 is only part of the journey, I will read the final episode of this saga before I comment much.
The Hofs
Apr 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Whew! This was like giving birth! My all time favorite book. This was the third time I have read this and the first for a book club. It was enlightening to discuss. Dont be intimidated, just read it!!
Jan 27, 2015 rated it liked it
This is the 3rd installment of The Master of Hestviken, by Undset, continuing the saga of Olav Audunson and his family. One more to go!
Oct 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. The Master of Hestviken is one of my favorite books ever.
rated it liked it
Oct 12, 2009
Ann Beardshear
rated it it was amazing
Aug 23, 2014
rated it it was amazing
Apr 19, 2020
rated it it was amazing
Mar 21, 2012
Ashley Montag
rated it really liked it
Nov 06, 2017
Jan 10, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: classics, cri, diversity
Winter 2019 “Sigrid Undset and Norway’s Middle Ages” at EdCC Creative Retirement Institute
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Undset was born in Kalundborg, Denmark, but her family moved to Norway when she was two years old. In 1924, she converted to Catholicism and became a lay Dominican. She fled Norway in 1940 because of her opposition to Nazi Germany and the German occupation, but returned after the end of World War II in 1945.

Sigrid Undset received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1928. Most of the praise was for h

Other books in the series

The Master of Hestviken (5 books)
  • The Axe (The Master of Hestviken, #1)
  • The Snake Pit (The Master of Hestviken, #2)
  • The Son Avenger (The Master of Hestviken, #4)
  • Olav Audunszoon op Hestviken

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