In Brad Leithauser’s introduction to Tiina Nunnally’s translation of Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset, he begins by saying that this book turned out to be for him a “reading experience like no other.” Carrying the huge book around with him for several months brought about interesting encounters, mostly with elderly women, and it was this personal aspect that made it unique.
I thought of this the other day when I brought a to-go pizza order out of the kitchen at Reel Pizza Cinerama, and handed it over to the fellow who is the handy man for my local library. He’s a tall, stooped, gentle, quiet man, in his mid-50’s, who has the look of someone who says very little, but listens well.
“Who’s reading Kristin Lavransdatter?” he asked, and I realized that I had left the giant, glowingly beautiful book lying on the side counter.
“Oh, I am,” I said casually, (bashfully?).
He nodded. “That’s a good one,” he said, with the exact look – “that special glow that comes at the recollection of a distant but enduring pleasure” – that Brad Leithauser described.
I think that’s pretty neat, and it bodes well for the shared reading experience of this massive book; one that I already am deeply invested in. I finished the first section – The Wreath – a few nights ago, but I’ll wait to post about it until the end of the month, with everyone else participating in the read-along. Suffice it to say, I can already agree with “Jim”, and echo that it’s “a good one”.
I hope everyone else is enjoying it too!