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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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