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As a young girl in 14th-century Norway, Kristin is deeply devoted to her father, Lavrans, a kind and courageous man. But when as a student in a convent school she meets the charming and impetuous Erlend Nikulaussøn, she defies her parents in pursuit of her own desires. Her saga continues through her marriage to Erlend, their tumultuous life together raising seven sons as Erlend seeks to strengthen his political influence, and finally their estrangement as the world around them tumbles into uncertainty.
For the first time, all three Kristin Lavransdatter novels, The Wreath, The Wife, and The Cross, are available in an accessible, modern, single-volume performance. Audible recorded the prize-winning translation by Tiina Nunnally, performed by Erin Bennett. Bennett does more than demystify the Norwegian names; more importantly she becomes Kristin's timeless voice, which the listener follows from cradle to grave. Despite - or perhaps because of - the rich detail about medieval Scandinavian morality and customs, there's no piece of Kristin's fictional life in the 14th century - her struggle to be her best self at every age - that doesn't resonate with contemporary women's struggles to "have it all".
If you are a nerdy stickler for historical accuracy, or if you are looking for a totally absorbing performance dominated by a single character's point of view, or if you enjoy the work of empyrean women authors - especially Hilary Mantel, Charlotte Brontë, and Elena Ferrante - here's your next great listen!
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Chicago & Indiana Scientist/Gardener/Hiker on 07-05-17
A grand listen
When you listen to this book you understand both why the author received the Nobel Prize in Literature and why people are still reading the book nearly a century later. A wonderful story line with characters that will stay with you. Beautifully performed. Never a dull moment in the 40+ hours of listening.
47 of 47 people found this review helpful
By Christina -- Audible on 05-26-17
A formerly famous classic few have heard of
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
I work at Audible as an Audible Editor, so, yes! I would recommend this book to many, many Audible listener friends. In all seriousness, I loved this book for years, and recommended it personally many, many times in print before I had a chance to amplify it in audio.
What other book might you compare Kristin Lavransdatter to and why?
MY BRILLIANT FRIEND by Elena Ferrante -- serious, award-winning fiction in translation from a major literary talent.WOLF HALL by Hilary Mantel -- deep dive into a historical setting in order to illuminate the point of view of a single, incandescent main character. JANE EYRE by Charlotte Bronte (as read by Thandie Newton) -- a novel (technically a bildungsroman) by a brilliant woman author, about the moral formation of a female character, loved by generations of readers.
What about Erin Bennett’s performance did you like?
Erin Bennett has a straightforward performance style that isn't overly dramatic; hers is a voice I could listen to for 45 hours with great enjoyment. She manages to convey the vicissitudes of Kristin's experience and all of the varied characters subtly but distinctively.. Also, she is spot on with the Norwegian proper names! Erin, if you're reading this: thank you! (I'd love to read your review of the audiobook!)
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
No, but that's just not the kind of book it is. (It's three novels in one audiobook, after all!) I see this audiobook as a meaty story that will reward listeners' time commitment with a rich experience.
Any additional comments?
Now I really want to go to Lillehammer!
88 of 89 people found this review helpful