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Kristin Lavransdatter III: The Cross (Penguin Classics) Paperback – April 1, 2000
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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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The final volume of the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy is perhaps the best of the three. Judging by the titles and cover images, I had guessed that Kristin would spend this book as... Read morePublished 3 months ago by E. Smiley
Wonderful, even the second time around. Of the trilogy, this is especially moving.Published 17 months ago by charlene
How the reader is transported into thirteenth century Norwood is beyond me, but Sigrid Undset does it. Kristin's life takes over mine. You will lose sleep staying up to read it.Published 20 months ago by Faith D. Flaherty
A wonderful story, beautifully written in a Medieval (style) language. Following Kristin's life and loves and families is an adventure filled with sorrow, pain and hardships ... Read morePublished on July 20, 2014 by Lee
As the third book in the trilogy, it was a relief to have
the story wrapped up. All three interesting, but bleak.
It is hard to end any story so that the reader feels fulfilled and complete but in this story Undset achieves a masterpiece by ending the story very naturally but with profound... Read morePublished on March 8, 2014 by A.K. Frailey