BOOK REVIEWS

Happy Times in Norway Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2019-10-23 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 8 user ratings
ISBN:0816678278
LANGUAGE:English

" Sigrid Undset er er en evig favoritt, og denne er så fin at det nesten gjør litt vondt " said.

" Sigrid Undset is a very powerful writer - here invoking her motherhood in Norway through the life of her two sons, from the distance of a war and an exile. A lovely look at the traditions of the Gudbrundstal. " said.

" Thoroughly enjoyable! Sigrid Undset is reall shaping up to be one of my favorite authors. I have always enjoyed reading a well-written children's book as an adult. " said.

" I loved reading this book and never expected it to touch me the way it did; especially after I read the preface(placed at the end by the editor I suppose)and put the book down. " said.

" I received this book as a gift from my brother since we are ethnically half Norwegian and I've visited Norway. It's an enjoyable portrait of life in Norway prior to the Second World War, although there is no real conflict or cohesive story. Rather, Undset captures her and her family's daily life with a focus on capturing a year in their lives. Undset is a talented Nobel Prize-winning author, and that comes through in this delightful volume. " said.

"I thoroughly enjoyed reading this little glimpse into simple, happy times in Norway. I finished the Christmas and 17th of May sections before I visited Norway. I loved the small villages in Norway, the red, white and blue houses, and the beautiful vast nature. But, I had a harder picking up the book to finish the last section after I got home. Now, as I sit here on a slightly chilly late summer morning having just read about Han's sadness of summer ending, I, too, am a little sad to see another summer gone. And I realize how much I truly enjoyed this little book." said.

"This is so unlike Undset's other works that at first I wasn't sure I liked it. I had to let go of my idea of what a Sigrid Undset book should be, and take this little work on its own terms. And once I did that, I liked the book very much. Not much happens in the book; these are merely Undset's memories of life in Norway when her children were young. But how poignant those memories are! When she wrote the book, Norway had been overrun by Nazi Germany. Undset herself had been condemned by the Nazis and faced arrest. She barely escaped, through Norway, Sweden, Russia, Japan, and on into exile in the United States. Her beloved daughter died a year before the Nazi invasion; her older son died fighting for Norway; her younger escaped with her to the U.S. but then returned to Norway to fight. A simple book, but worth reading." said.

"This is a dramatic departure from Undset's usual material. The Nobel prize winning Norwegian authoress is known for her psychologically rich, historically detailed evocations of Norway, namely in the medieval era. This book, her memoir, is set in the early twentieth century, and is written in a simpler, almost childlike style. Undset herself is only barely alluded to, as this book is less a memoir of her own life as it is a memoir of Norway as she remembers it. From the introduction, it appears as if this book was written during her time of exile in America, when the Nazis were occupying her country. Because of this, Undset wanted to preserve the memory of Norway's happy traditions as she remembered them. Sigrid Undset in this book is actually "Mother," who plays only a background role to her children, Hans, Anders and Tulla. The book is divided into three sections, each focused on one of the seasonal or holiday times of the year: Christmas, the 17th of May (Norway's Independence Day), and the summertime trips to the seter, the upland pasture where livestock is taken and cared for during the summer months. This last section is probably the most interesting, and provides the most insight into Undset's own life, though not very much insight. It's interesting to know that these seters were the site of some of Undset's own writing; it's tempting to think that the work which she is depicted as doing in the Gudbrandsdal uplands was Kristin Lavransdatter, itself, the work which earned her the Nobel prize, itself set mostly in Gudbrandsdal. All in all, this is not really a great piece of writing, and will ultimately only end up pleasing those who are very interested in Sigrid Undset and her writing, as I myself am. For any others, one of her medieval sagas are a far better choice, especially if one has never read any of Undset before. " said.

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