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Olav Audunssøn: I. Vows

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  24 ratings  ·  13 reviews
The initial volume in the Nobel Prize–winning author’s tumultuous, epic story of medieval Norway—the first new English translation in nearly a century

As a child, Olav Audunssøn is given by his dying father to an old friend, Steinfinn Toressøn, who rashly promises to raise the boy as his foster son and eventually marry him to his own daughter, Ingunn. The two children, ver
Paperback, 336 pages
Expected publication: November 10th 2020 by Univ Of Minnesota Press
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Sep 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A past dream, "recalling rocks arching up in the middle of the courtyard at Hestviken...Behind the livestock sheds...a steep wall of shiny dark stone with water trickling down its face. And tall, green thickets...a low-tide shore... across seaweed...picking up snail shells...", memories of Olav's childhood on his family estate in medieval Norway, a life abruptly uprooted.

Olav's father, Audun, had worked alongside Steinfinn, Ingunn's father both as royal retainers. Encountering each other years l
Aug 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, arc, netgalley
“It’s easy to be a good Christian, Olav, as long as God makes no more demands upon you than inviting you to church to listen to beautiful songs and asking you to obey Him while He pats you with His fatherly hand. But a man’s faith can be tested on the day when God does not want the same thing he wants. Let me tell you what Bishop Torfinn said the other day when we were speaking of your case. ‘May God grant,’ he said, ‘that the boy learns to understand over time that for a man who insists on d
Ken Fredette
Aug 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
I like Tiina Nunnally's translation of Olav Audunssøn's Vows. She makes it so readable that it seems as if Sigrid Undset was living now rather than when she wrote the story in 1902 with the first draft of Olav Audunssøn. The book stems from the two fathers of Olav and Ingunn making them bound by oath to be wed someday. Giving a ring to Olav as wedding present to Ingunn. Sigrid transforms this into something that affects the lives of Olav and Ingunn with everything that they do. It takes over 10 ...more
Oct 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Set in idyllic Norwegian countryside, Olav Audunssøn is not just a story about two people but exploration of inner lives of families associated closely to monarchy. Olav is arranged to be married to Ingunn by their fathers and Ingunn's father promises to raise Olav as his foster son. With this knowledge set, Olav and Ingunn grow up with the knowledge of being sort-of betrothed in northern parts of country and thus begins the first part of the quartet.

Undset foreshadows sufferings for young cou
Aug 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 20th-century-lit
The Nobel Prize-winning Norwegian writer Sigrid Undset is one of my favorite novelists–to the point that I tried to teach myself Norwegian after I read  Kristin Lavransdatter. Set in medieval Norway, this fascinating trilogy focuses on the struggles of willful, beautiful Kristin, who breaks up with her betrothed to marry Erlend Nikulaussøn, a charming but irresponsible knight with a bad reputation, whose neglected estate she must manage, along with yearly pregnancies and one handicapped child, a ...more
Karen KK
I received this from

"Olav Audunsson: I. Vows" by Nobel Prize winner Sigrid Undset is the first book in a new English translation of the tetralogy previously translated as "The Master of Hestviken" and published in 1925. Olav and Ingunn are the epitome of star crossed lovers and have many factors against their love.

Having read and thoroughly enjoyed Kristin Lavransdatter last year, I was excited when this book became available. Book 1 in a tetralogy, I hope the rest of the series
Nicki Markus
Aug 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-historical
Olav Audunssøn: I. Vows was an engaging read on many levels. The characters and their situation caught my interest from the start, and I enjoyed Undset's saga-like storytelling style. This book is split into two parts, with the first section told from Olav's POV and the second from Ingunn's. I liked Olav in the first section; however, I turned against him a little in the second. This, though, comes from looking at the story and judging his actions with a modern eye; his actions would have been c ...more
Eule Luftschloss
trigger warning
(view spoiler)

It is with good intentions that Olav and Ingunn are betrothed as children, and Olav is taken in by his future father-in-law as a foster child as his own father lies dying.
No one senses what troubles will come of this.

You see, the trouble was that the adults didn't think the children would remember while the children grew up in the know
Oct 07, 2020 marked it as to-read
I received Olav Audunsson as part of a NetGalley giveaway.

In medieval Norway, Olav and Ingunn are promised to one another as children, their fathers old friends. They grow up side by side as foster siblings and become deeply fond of one another, but past rivalries and present circumstance tear them apart. Unable to marry one another, yet unable to marry anyone else, years of separation and tragedy elapse before fate brings them back together...but it remains to be seen whether the lovers will be
Maggie Rotter
Oct 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My daughter and I have a term for a certain genre of movie that could be seen and understood as either tragedy or comedy. It's Nordic humor. In literature this appears in such novels as Jane Smiley's The Greenlanders and in Halldor Lexness Independent People. Olav Audunsson and Kristin Lavransdatter are very lean as far as humor but there is still adequate contrast to enable the reader to avoid frequent tears. I loved reading about Kristin's very long and winding life so was not surprised or put ...more
Andrea Hicks
Sep 08, 2020 rated it it was ok
Unfortunately this did not live up to what I thought it was going to be and I found my attention wandering. Perhaps the translation made it seem very wooden, but there was a lot of repetition and little passion. Not for me.
Sep 01, 2020 rated it it was ok
After reading the translator's outstanding introduction to this I thought I'd be in for a treat, but alas the repetition and unending grinding of slow-moving plot points and relationships didn't keep my attention.
Oct 14, 2020 rated it liked it
This was an advanced copy from NetGalley. While I enjoyed the book and the historical aspects such as the role of the Church, societal norms and the like, I had trouble with liking the characters.
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English Translati...: Sigrid Undset - Olav Audunsson: Vows 1 5 Jul 15, 2020 11:04AM  

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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

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