Cover of Kristin Lavransdatter

Kristin Lavransdatter

(Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)

Sigrid Undset

Get ready to have all of your preconceived notions about fourteenth-century Norway totally upended. Wait a second… anyone with ideas about fourteenth-century Norway who hasn’t read this must reside in the overlappy part of a venn diagram so small that the normal rules of book recommendations just won’t work. These aren’t quantum rules. Anyway this is a massive epic about early Christian Norway, and it’s… epic.

But listen. Don’t listen to the audiobook. Just don’t. This was Type II fun, bordering on type III, for me. By all means, read this epic tale from slept-on nobel laureate Undset. But I think you’re going to enjoy turning pages for this kind of thing. So I’ve put the link to a paper copy of this one. (It doesn’t help that this audiobook is only available via Audible, which I’m not interested in supporting.)

I will say that the day I knew I was going to finish this book was a great feeling of triumph that totally compensated for arriving at one of my least favorite trail towns of the whole thing (sorry, Belden, CA).

Book Info

Penguin (2005), 1169 pages
ISBN/EAN Product Code
Publisher Description

“[Sigrid Undset] should be the next Elena Ferrante.” —Slate The turbulent historical masterpiece of Norway’s literary master A Penguin Classic In her great historical epic Kristin Lavransdatter, set in fourteenth-century Norway, Nobel laureate Sigrid Undset tells the life story of one passionate and headstrong woman. Painting a richly detailed backdrop, Undset immerses readers in the day-to-day life, social conventions, and political and religious undercurrents of the period. Now in one volume, Tiina Nunnally’s award-winning definitive translation brings this remarkable work to life with clarity and lyrical beauty. As a young girl, Kristin is deeply devoted to her father, a kind and courageous man. But when as a student in a convent school she meets the charming and impetuous Erlend Nikulaussøn, she defies her parents in pursuit of her own desires. Her saga continues through her marriage to Erlend, their tumultuous life together raising seven sons as Erlend seeks to strengthen his political influence, and finally their estrangement as the world around them tumbles into uncertainty. With its captivating heroine and emotional potency, Kristin Lavransdatter is the masterwork of Norway’s most beloved author—one of the twentieth century’s most prodigious and engaged literary minds—and, in Nunnally’s exquisite translation, a story that continues to enthrall. This Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition includes an introduction by Brad Leithauser and features French flaps and deckle-edged paper. For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators. (Publisher’s Description)

On this shelf:
Audiobooks for the trail: a memory palace the size of a nation-state