Well, it's almost November and we've been pretty quiet on the Kristin front, so I'm going to jump in. It's not fresh in my mind anymore, but here are my jumbled thoughts.
I didn't like Kristin until The Wife. All through The Wreath she made one bad decision after another, and she was really getting on my nerves (to be honest). Then in The Wife she really started to try and reclaim her dignity and do things right. I loved the way she started setting Erlend's manor to rights and how she wouldn't let the servant girl talk about the obvious pregnancy. I really thought I was going to find my Kristin groove.
And then Erlend finds out about the pregnancy, and we're back to square one with these characters. Perhaps Kristin thought that marriage, far from her family, would be a fresh start with a clean slate, but the reality is that choices have far reaching consequences. Some consequences, however, can be extended by long memories. Kristen's ability to carry paper over years was impressive, and more than once I wondered how this marriage could last, given her unwillingness to forgive. And I do say "forgive", regardless of her pilgrimages or prayers, because her constant need to throw her wrongs in Erlend's face (and I didn't even like the guy!) shows that she is still bitter. I believe it was in this book and not in The Cross in which once again she slaps him with accusations in a fight and he says, "Jesus, Kristin, have you been thinking about this for fifteen years?" And that's the fight that provokes him to go off with the other woman, which leads to Erlend's downfall, and the fateful turn in the family fortunes for the worse.
(Ragnfrid held onto her sin for years and years, but I suppose the difference there was that Lavrans wasn't involved in her wrong (or in any wrong, ever?). She can't cast it up to him, though of course her initial attitude toward him later influences his attitude toward her. It was not mutual, and therefore not marriage-breaking.)
I know there are so many themes in The Wife, and so many episodes (the beautiful pilgrimage, anyone? The childbirth scene?) that cry out to be discussed and savored, but what I'm left with after a month or two is the corrosive effects of unforgiven sin -- mutual unforgiven sin -- and how that sin eats away at the foundation of a marriage and, acid-like, weakens and disfigures all it touches.
1 day ago