Classics Challenge Completed! (Kristin Lavransdatter)

I saved my translation book, Kristin Lavransdatter (I picked Nunnally's translation) for last. And boy was it a book to go out on. This thing is huge. It's actually three books in one but you really can't just read one. It's a saga and you need the whole thing.

And now I'm supposed to talk about it. I waited a whole week to do so thinking I'd come up with something to say but I'm still at a loss for words. It's good. Very good. I mean, a book doesn't win the Nobel Prize for Literature for nothing. And it was very thought provoking. As evidenced by the fact that I'm still thinking over it.

On the surface, it's the story of a women's life in medieval Norway. After over a thousand pages of fine writing, you really do feel like you've been immersed in that culture. It's so different from ours but through Undset's writing, I just saw read felt all the similarities in her life as a wife and mother and mine.

But it was also so sad. Not in a train wreck sort of way, which I almost expected to occur as I was mid-way through the first of the three books. It just captures the difference between living a life trying to appease God and living a life to please God.  The characters were flawed, but it wasn't any one sin that stands out to me as the downfall of Kristin or Erland but that their overall lives were less than they could have been. There is a great quote near the end that I really wanted to put in my commonplace book but I was already in bed and didn't have my book nearby but forgot to go back and write down before I returned the book to the library. It's killing me and I've searched online but can't fine it but it so perfectly sums up the tragedy of the story. Kristin is looking back on her life and seeing how she always prayed to God to let her have her will and how she almost always got it, but what she should have been praying for was for his will to be done. And therein lies the tragedy.

But tragedy aside, it's a beautiful story and one that is well worth reading.

And that's my classics challenge! Below are the links to the other classics I've ready for the challenge this year. I've really enjoyed stretching myself with book choices this year. I read several that I had been meaning to get to for a while but kept putting off but also many that I wouldn't have even heard about or considered without this challenge and most of them I really liked. I hope to do it again next year, wanna join me? Be sure to visit Karen's page to see what other people have been reading this year.

1.  A 19th Century Classic A Tale of Two Cities

2.  A 20th Century Classic Cold Comfort Farm

3.  A Classic by a Woman AuthorThe Glimpses of the Moon

4.  A Classic in Translation. Kristin Lavransdatter

5.  A Very Long Classic Novel Middlemarch

6.  A Classic Novella The Europeans

7.  A Classic with a Person's Name in the Title.  Lady Audley's Secret

8.  A Humorous or Satirical Classic.  Three Men in a Boat

9.  A Forgotten Classic.  The Shuttle

10.  A Nonfiction Classic. The Small Woman

11.  A Classic Children's Book.  Understood Betsy

12.  A Classic Play.  MacBeth


  1. Have you read Giants in the Earth? Same themes; same Nordic roots; but much shorter journey to complete. It was a rite of passage in my time to complete this classic. And well worth it.

  2. How funny - I hadnt heard of it but someone else I know just recommended yesterday as well! I'll have to check it out.

  3. And Craig just went and grabbed it from the basement. I guess we own it already! This is why I really need to finish cataloging our library.

  4. MacKenzie, I love your post.
    I am approaching the middle of KL's second book, and I see a gloom hanging over everybody's heads.
    Your list has intriguing titles.
    I can't wait to dive into next year's one.
    Linda Dahl and I said at one point we didn't want to do this and just read whatever we wanted, but oh boy! The lists, the possibilities, it's too good to refuse, plus it wasn't that super hard to accommodate my wishes to the list.
    Your baby is beautiful.