Penguin, Apr 1, 1998 - Fiction - 208 pages
The first historical novel by the Nobel Prize-winning author of Kristin Lavransdatter
A Penguin Classic
More than a decade before writing Kristin Lavransdatter, the trilogy about fourteenth-century Norway that won her the Nobel Prize, Sigrid Undset published Gunnar’s Daughter, a brief, swiftly moving tale about a more violent period of her country’s history, the Saga Age. Set in Norway and Iceland at the beginning of the eleventh century, Gunnar's Daughter is the story of the beautiful, spoiled Vigdis Gunnarsdatter, who is raped by the man she had wanted to love. A woman of courage and intelligence, Vigdis is toughened by adversity. Alone she raises the child conceived in violence, repeatedly defending her autonomy in a world governed by men. Alone she rebuilds her life and restores her family's honor—until an unremitting social code propels her to take the action that again destroys her happiness.
First published in 1909, Gunnar's Daughter was in part a response to the rise of nationalism and Norway's search for a national identity in its Viking past. But unlike most of the Viking-inspired art of its period, Gunnar's Daughter is not a historical romance. It is a skillful conversation between two historical moments about questions as troublesome in Undset's own time—and in ours—as they were in the Saga Age: rape and revenge, civil and domestic violence, troubled marriages, and children made victims of their parents' problems.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - labfs39 - LibraryThing
Although much shorter than Kristin Lavransdatter, only 213 pages, the two books are quite similar. Both reveal the harsh lives of women in Norway and the pain caused by bearing children out of wedlock ... Read full review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - billt568 - LibraryThing
A fantastic little novel, the absolute best of Undset condensed in a two sitting read. Written in the style of prose edda, this is a compelling historical melodrama that I enjoyed every second of. An excellent primer before attempting Lavransdatta or Hestviken Read full review
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Common terms and phrases
Ęsa answered arms Arne asked bear began begged believe bench better blood brought called carried CHAPTER child Christian cloak dark Daughter door eyes face father fell fire followed forest forward gave give Gudrun Gunnar hair hand head hear heard heart held horse Iceland Illuge Kaare killed King kissed late laughed Leikny lived Ljot looked marriage matter Medieval meet mind mother never night Norse Norway Norwegian Olav once Oslo Press promised replied river round sagas seemed seen ship side Sigrid Undset sons sorrow speak spoke stay stone stood story summer surely talk tell things thought told took turned Ulvar Undset University Uspak Vadin Veterlide Vigdis Viking wife wish woman women write young