Category Archives: Norwegian Literature

Don’t Look Back by Karin Fossum (Inspector Sejer)

Synopsis: When a popular teenage girl is found dead by a mountain lake, the innocence of an idyllic town is shattered. Review: While I enjoyed Don’t Look Back, I wasn’t hooked on the series. The mystery is very well-plotted and kept me guessing to the end, but the psychological complexity wasn’t there the way I wanted it to be. And the reveal at the end had some elements that felt forced and overly dramatic. However, I loved the Norwegian setting and the mention of Sigrid…

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Jenny by Sigrid Undset

Synopsis: A young Norwegian woman pursues her painting in Rome, but when she gets swept up in a romance with a fellow countryman she finds her dreams derailed and her life shattered. Review: Jenny is a realist novel from the Pulitzer Prize winning author of the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy, one of my all-time favorite reads. It’s a somber story that reminded me of Theodore Dreiser and EM Forster, delving into the psychology of Jenny, an artist in her late 20s living a bohemian life and…

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The Son Avenger by Sigrid Undset (The Master of Hestviken)

Synopsis: With Olav Audunsson facing the end of his lonely days, his children Eirik and Cecilia find themselves trapped in the repercussions of Olav’s as-yet unconfessed sins. Review: There was so much I loved in The Son Avenger, particularly Cecilia’s journey of wife- and motherhood with Eirik’s less-than-reputable childhood friend Jorund. She really came alive as a different kind of woman than the others I’ve seen in Undset’s work, with a rigidity that blossomed into self-awareness and even a kind of independence. She’s mirrored nicely…

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In the Wilderness by Sigrid Undset (The Master of Hestviken)

Synopsis: Medieval feudal lord now widower Olav Audunsson grapples with the sins of old that make each day a torment. Review: In the Wilderness had a strong transitional quality to it. I am hoping that the next book completes his spiritual journey because I was really unsatisfied with where he ended up at the end of the book. All he’s done his whole life is justify his misdeeds by claiming his own rights, and that’s just what he’s doing near the end. At this point…

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The Snake Pit by Sigrid Undset (The Master of Hestviken)

Synopsis: Olav Audunsson finally brings Ingunn Steinfinnsdatter back to his ancestral home as his wife, each harboring a dark secret that threatens the happiness they dreamed of as children. Review: The Snake Pit follows closely on the tragic events of The Axe, focusing on the far-reaching effects of sin in the lives of Olav and his childhood love Ingunn, now his wife. I really don’t want to give too much away about the story thus far, because I loved how it unfolded in the previous…

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The Axe by Sigrid Undset (The Master of Hestviken)

Synopsis: Betrothed as children, Olav and Ingunn grew up together, but when Ingunn’s parents die, they take an irrevocable step that jeopardizes their futures and the social system that surrounds them. Review: The Axe begins a 4-book series by Sigrid Undset, the Nobel Prize-winning author of the acclaimed and beloved Kristin Lavransdatter books. Like that series, The Axe concerns itself heavily with matters of sexual morality and the toxic nature of secret sin, only this time we get the man’s perspective as well. Olav isn’t…

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The Scandinavian Cookbook

I don’t ordinary review cookbooks on my blog, though I am a pretty darn good cook. I love reading about food and trying new recipes, so when The Scandinavian Cookbook came up on Librarything‘s Early Reviewer program, I was hoping I’d score a copy. So glad that I did! This is a gorgeous cookbook with recipes that I’m dying to get cracking on. The format of the cookbook takes you through a Scandinavian year, placing the emphasis on traditional dishes and seasonal cooking. The recipes…

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Book Giveaway–Tanya, Yan or Tara, Contact Me

I posted the contest winner a few days ago but Tanya, whose number came up, has not yet contacted me. So I played Random Integer Generator again and came up with #6 (Yan). Since neither Tanya nor Yan gave email addresses, I have no way of getting in touch with them, so I spun again and got Tara in post #3. The first one of these three people who contacts me gets the book. Share on Facebook

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Gunnar’s Daughter by Sigrid Undset (Translated by Arthur G. Chater)

Synopsis: Callously ravished by the man she hoped to love, an 11th Century Norwegian woman shapes her life around dreams of vengeance. Review: Gunnar’s Daughter is an early novel from the Sigrid Undset, author of the Nobel Prize-winning Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy, and it is no less of a powerful, shocking work not just for a book set in medieval Norway, but for a book written at the beginning of the 20th Century. Share on Facebook

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The Cross (Kristin Lavransdatter 3) by Sigrid Undset

Synopsis: As her seven sons grow to manhood in 13th Century Norway, Kristin finds her marriage tested by long-simmering resentments, and struggles with her passage into senescence. Review: This might be my favorite of all three Kristin Lavransdatter books, because I think Undset is operating at the peak of her narrative powers. She really brings to life a time in Kristin’s life that isn’t as readily appealing as Kristin’s passage into womanhood, and the novelty of Kristin and Erlend’s life together has worn off. In…

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