Over three years late, but here it is: my final post on Kristin Lavransdatter. The readalong has long since finished, and indeed, it’s been a long, long time since I closed the book and put it back on my shelf (probably forever). Still, closure is needed!
The final verdict: Kristin Lavransdatter is not a book that impressed me. I know because I can hardly remember a thing about it; the two things I do recall firmly being that (1) the heroine’s name is Kristin Lavransdatter (hardly an achievement, given that this name is, in fact, the title) and (2) it is set in medieval Norway.
Were there unsatisfactory marriages and knights in shining armor and illicit romances and lots of blonde Scandinavian children? Were there? Do I even care? I waxed lyrical about this novel in my earlier reflections and midway impressions, so why have I come to be so indifferent about it? I’m not sure. Strange phenomenon, indeed, because I reached the opposite end of the rainbow with 1Q84 recently, when I found myself liking it more and more as I inched closer to the ending.
I may decide to re-read this someday. I do have a perverse tendency to re-read things I dislike. Kiran Desai’s The Inheritance of Loss, for instance – I thought it overworked and too stylized in my first reading, but came to like it in the second. Maybe Salman Rushdie’s Enchantress of Florence (which I mistakenly referred to as the ‘Empress of Florence’ in my indifference towards it) will also charm me second time round?
I’ve long since realised that the reason I finish things I dislike is because I have this innate curiosity which desires to know why such and such a character said something or behaved a certain way, or why the writer chose to write this book, or even why it is I dislike it so vehemently. And I usually feel as though I won’t get answers unless I’ve finished the damn things. But as to why I choose to re-read them? Who knows. It may be the burning questions.
The burning question in regards to Kristin Lavransdatter is most definitely: how on earth did this thing win Sigrid Undset the Nobel Prize for Literature? Anyone care to toss up some answers?
Kristin Lavransdatter readalong: