Books: Viking's Son

GUNNAR'S DAUGHTER—Sigrid Undset— Knopf ($2).

In company with a good many contemporary European novelists, Sigrid Undset has a faculty for making the life of the past appear rich and meaningful in comparison with the involved perplexities of the present. Her three-volume historical romance, Kristin Lavransdatter, pictured a medieval Norway that was brutal and hard, but one in which people fitted into the few simple grooves that society provided and fulfilled their destinies with dramatic symmetry. A prime example of historical fiction, its elaborate documentation artfully grained into the narrative, that book...

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