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I never thought I might read a 1,000+ page novel about medieval Scandinavia but you've certainly convinced me i should try, Danielle! This does sound marvellous and I'm so impressed by the way you've got through it.


Congratulations on finishing! You've expressed so well alot of what I felt about the book...the universal themes, the depth of the characters, the inner struggles and passage of time. I second the high recommendation to those who haven't read it yet; don't be put off by the length, you'll wish it was longer.
I watched the 1995 movie of the first book over the weekend primarily because I'd read that Ullman was very particular about authenticity. It's not a very good movie but I did enjoy the costumes, the houses, especially the interiors with the tapestries and wood carving, the horses, the location shots. Very beautiful. The movie follows the book almost exactly but it misses alot of the inner struggle that is the motivation for much of the plot. I think you should only watch it if you've read the book; my husband had some trouble following what was going on and why. Of course, I think Ullman could assume that everyone watching had read the book; the Netflix jacket says that 50% of the population of Norway bought tickets the movie when it premiered!


Litlove--I know you don't read a lot of historical fiction, but this is definitely one of the worthier examples I've come across! If you do ever feel the urge you could always just buy the first novel and see if it's your thing. Maybe it is a matter of timing, but it really clicked with me--I could almost flip back to the beginning and start over again.
Mary--It's sort of hard to describe everything that this book entails--I do hope that people might pick it up and give it a try! I've contemplated getting the movie from Netflix, but I don't think I will. I have this visual image of the people and I know the movie actors won't compare. I would love to see the setting and scenery and all the other Medieval accountrements that are mentioned in the book. How interesting that so many people went to see the movie when it was released. It will be interesting to reread the book (which I plan to do eventually) as now that I know what to expect in terms of what will happen to the characters I can concentrate on the other themes.


I hope that I can find the other two in the series. I remember reading the first one years ago and I might have to reread it to refresh the memories.


Isabel--I hope you are able to find the other two novels--they get better as you go! The first one was good, but to really appreciate the story all three taken together are best!


Danielle - I assume you're the Danielle who has just won a copy of Miss Hargreaves! Congrats!


Simon--Yes, that's me. I will be emailing you! :)


So you finished the book already? It seems like you flew through it. I've been interested in reading the book and since you had such a good experience with it, I want to read it even more. Hopefully I will be able to sometime soonish.


Just stumbling by, but it's great to see this book on someone's list--it's one I've always wanted to read. I was in the video store the other day and somebody was renting the movie--the first time it had ever been rented--and they were talking about Ullman and didn't know about the book. I didn't know much about it myself, but I knew it was a familiar epic historical title and have seen copies in bookstores for years.

My question--without going through the previous posts or checking exhaustively through the site--is whether anybody ever mentioned Jane Smiley's The Greenlanders while you were reading this and if they bear any relation at all. I read the Smiley book at least a dozen years ago, right before 1000 Acres came out (which I read in manuscript--very exciting). It was great, very satisfying and fairly masterful but probably not so similar to Kristen, but I'm curious.

Oh well--good to know you enjoyed it, and still looking forward to reading it one day.


Hello, I too just finished reading "Kristin Lavransdatter" and was absolutely mesmerized by this story and its characters.

For weeks, I went deeper and deeper into Kristin's world, spent decades with her, shared her happiness and her tragedies. With about 30 pages to go, as she looked back over what had become of her life, I broke down and sobbed over this woman, a fictional character, so deeply did I care about her. And only then did I get to the novel's final reward and its profoundly moving and emotionally draining conclusion.

If you're cautious about its 1,124 pages, or about 14th century Norway, the limiting "historical fiction" label, or its religious over- and undertones, don't be. The book is very approachable and is relevant in any era, to people of any (or no) faith.

I know this book probably appeals more to women, but I'm a man and I was still in its grip. Now that I have two young children of my own, the book's treatment of motherhood, childbirth, child-raising, and watching your children grow old and on their own, is so real and affecting. (Re-read the section on p. 1009, first chapter of "The Cross", beginning: "During this time her soul found peace and solace whenever she let her thoughts dwell on the two children..." I read and re-read this page over and over, just re-read it again as I write this comment. Has any writer ever captured so completely and poignantly the love and devotion and heartbreak of a parent toward her children?)

This is a book that will be more rewarding for mature people. I do hope to read this again every five or ten years, to come back to as mileposts in my life.

Danielle, thanks for devoting so much space to this book and author. I'm glad you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Three tips to prospective readers: get the books in the separate volumes; the 1-volume book is so big and heavy it's fatiguing to hold. Get the Nunnally translation. And don't read the introductions, they give too much away!

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