Sunday, March 11, 2018
Fortnightly Book, March 11
While Sigrid Undset is most famous for her large medieval novels, most of her books are more modern in focus. This is the case with Ida Elisabeth, the next fortnightly book, which takes place in the 1930s. As with most Undset novels, it concerns living with a disastrous choice, and the question of how one puts one's life together given that the past cannot be undone. The backcover of it says that Ida Elisabeth marries her "teenage sweetheart", which is certainly overstating the matter; Ida Elisabeth and Frithjof in a sense just fall in together as teenagers sometimes do, and then they later marry, not so much for love but for familiarity. But Frithjof is a well-meaning dream-and-do-nothing kind of man, not very brave and not very honest, although sincere in his own way, the kind who always starts and never finishes, big on dreams and low on accomplishments. It is a catastrophe inevitable from the beginning, and there are no do-overs with something like that.