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Kristin Lavransdatter III: The Cross (Penguin Classics) Paperback – April 1, 2000

4.8 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Sigrid Undset's trilogy embodies more of life, seen understanding and seriously…than any novel since Dostoievsky's Brothers Karamazov.” —Commonweal“No other novelist has bodied forth the medieval world with such richness and fullness.” —New York Herald Tribune --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Language Notes

Text: English, Norwegian (translation) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (April 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141182350
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141182353
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.9 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,301 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
If you have read the first 2 parts of the trilogy, then surely you will want to see how Kristen's life story turns out. Through Undset's marvelous characterizations you will experience a huge range of human emotions: the worries of parents about their children (especially of course from the mother's perspective), the joy of seeing the future in and through your children,the melancholy waning of marital love (and its reawakening), the fragility of life in medieval times, the ecstasy of deep religious faith, the hysteria when the unknown approaches. Undset examines through Kristin the constants of human life with simplicity, but also with a realization that the mystery of existence remains mysterious. A reviewer of an earlier volume said he preferred the 1920's translation in a pseudo-Walter Scott style, claiming it shows more "poetry" than Tiina Nunnally's. "De gustibus non est disputandum": each to his own taste. I suggest that you take a look at both translations before you buy and see which one you might prefer. (I will still call the earlier translation dreadful.) I hope that Tiina Nunnally will eventually translate all of Undset's works.
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Format: Paperback
THE CROSS is the final shattering novel in Sigrid Undset's KRISTAN LAVRANSDATTER trilogy. In it, Kristin reaps both the rewards and sorrows of the choices she sowed in the first two volumes.
In the first novel, Kristin's passion for Erlend Nikulausson led her to break her betrothal to Simon Andresson. In the second volume, Kristin sought to atone for her sin (she was already pregnant when she celebrated her wedding with Erlend), but had to struggle to forgive Erlend for leading her astray. In THE CROSS, the consequences of Kristin's choices all come to a head. The first section of the novel focuses on Simon, who has been a faithful friend to Kristin and Erlend, even as he continued to harbor feelings for Kristin. In the mid-section of the novel, Kristin and Erlend strive to find peace with one another. While their passion for one another never died, they were never fully able to overcome the mismatch in their marriage. And in the final section, we follow Kristin as she seeks acceptance from her seven sons, and most importantly from God.
For while KRISTIN LAVRANSDATTER seems to be a novel about love, friendship, and marriage, its deepest message is about the struggle of deeply-flawed humans to reconcile themselves with God. The trilogy is set in medieval Norway and all of the characters order their lives (as best they can) around the Christian moral order. Even as they knowingly fail, the Faith is a part of the very air they breathe.
The miracle of Sigrid Undset's trilogy is the clarity of her perception into the human condition. All of these characters live and breathe, and (more startling) we see clearly how they impact each other through the tangled webs of their lives.
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By A Customer on September 2, 1998
Format: Paperback
I have told you in my reviews of the 2 earlier books that you become Kristin. Well, in this book you wish you were her so you could recover from her mistakes and make life right again. How tragic Erlend's ending, how sad Kristin's. I ache to this day for her. Was life really like that in those days. We will never know. But feelings and emotions seem to be timeless and I can only imagine that somewhere in sometime in someone's life they experienced all that Kristin did and I ache for them too. These books will be a part of me forever and I can not recommend them to highly to you.
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Format: Paperback
...this one brought me to tears in more than one place. If you're reading "The Cross," or considering purchasing it, you've probably already read the first two books in the series and are caught up in the story. Is this book worth it? Yes. It's not an uplifting read by any means, but it brings the Kristin story to a logical -- though heartbreaking -- conclusion. I am in awe of Undset for her creation of such believable characters, and grateful to her for this glimpse into medieval life. Nunnally's translation is clear and reads smoothly. This, along with "The Wreath" and "The Wife," is one of those books you hate to see end.
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Format: Paperback
"Know Thyself"--in her maturity, the girl protagonist of the "The Wedding Garland" and the unhappy wife of "The Mistress of Husaby" undertakes the difficult spiritual task of reflecting upon her life and past mistakes, and coming to terms with the reality of her life. Far from being depressing, this novel illustrates how an all too-flawed human being attains transcendent wisdom, meeting death with interior peace and inspiring courage.
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Format: Paperback
I'm still suffering withdrawal symptoms now that I've completed volume three. Where will I find another world like this one? For me the third volume was not of the astounding caliber of the first two, yet it was still very good, and eminently readable. More characters are introduced, and many minor characters that had barely been mentioned in the previous two books are frequently alluded to in the storyline: it can be a real challenge keeping track of them all. You really need to take notes while you're reading this novel. A character may be referred to in passing, and unless you have been making notes as you went along, you probably won't know exactly who this is and how she or he fits in or is related to the other characters.

Based on its title, I was expecting The Cross to be a very sad and tragic story, yet overall the tone of the volume is mostly positive, until about the last thirty pages. If any one character emerges as victorious at the end it is Ulf, an enigmatic rough-hewn man who is very stoic and plain-spoken, sort of like a cowboy from the old west. The question is, why does Ulf emerge as this shadowy survivor at the novel's conclusion? Ulf is not a particularly religious man, but he is possessed with an undying sense of loyalty to Erlend and Kristin. Ulf indirectly alludes to his secret love for Kristin at the end of the novel. Ulf is doggedly devoted to her throughout the novel. Aside from Ulf, Simon emerges as the other individual equally lovingly devoted to Kristin. What is indeed not apparent, however, is why Kristin is considered so appealing to these men; she is never really presented as anything other than a hard-working simple woman with a massive guilt complex.

Undset never meant to portray Kristin as a perfect individual.
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