Making my way steadily through The Wreath. Up until now, I haven’t been casting my ‘critical eye’ over this book, because I’ve been reading it to relax. Of course, there’s something perverse in my reading something like Kristin Lavransdatter to relax, but it really has been pleasant to let my mind rest – and sometimes wander – as I read. For too long I’ve read books with ulterior motives, trying to pry out the ‘deeper meanings’ (where often, none exist) and trying to dissect or take apart the stories that novelists work so hard to construct together.
Edit: Steph’s words, not mine, but it’s what I actually meant to say –
This is simply a book that I’ve been having fun reading and just haven’t felt the need to rush through. I’m enjoying the time I spend with the book, and as easy as it is to flip the pages, I feel I’m not doing so mindlessly but am instead really reveling in the time spent. I feel like I am reading for the sake of reading, rather than for the sake of finishing the book.
Okay, whatever. My point is that I’m enjoying Kristin Lavransdatter because it’s so traditional. Clear, unadorned prose (Undset, or Nunally at least, is very frank and straightforward, but still poetic), linear narrative, well-drawn characters, an almost mystical setting. Everything is interwoven so masterfully, and with such confidence, that I’m very easily drawn into Kristin’s medieval Norway.
As for the ‘Modernist v Not’ question that I brought up in my last post, I’ve made up my mind: this book is certainly not Modernist. Sigrid Undset might have been a ‘modern’ woman, striving to understand the changes wrought in society by the approach of moderneity. Yeah, yeah. A lot of that will probably be reflected in her work later on. From what I’ve read about the book, plot-wise, I can even begin to see themes that correlate with those of other novels from the 1920s. But is this book a product of modernity? No. Completely wrong box to put it in. The deeper I fall into this book, the more I realize that Kristin Lavransdatter is a homage to beautiful golden-haired maidens; to majestic stain-glass windowed cathedrals, and tolling bells, and homely villages snuggled deep in the Norwegian mountains; to great storytelling; to humanity – its beauty and blemishes both. To Romance.