The Cross – 5/5
I started this year off on January 2 pretty much reading the first two of this trilogy in one day. Now, some 440 books and reviews later I close off my reading in one day. This collection is 1100 pages long and is so rewarding. Not that many women have won the Nobel Prize and a lot of Nobel Prize winners in the early years are so boring or weird or garbage, and so a combination of an early female winner producing truly great novels is worth your time for sure.
This is the third of the series and Kristin Lavrandatter is in her 30s and has a ton of kids and as you might expect in medieval Denmark it means her life is starting to eclipse. Maybe we wouldn’t think this way if the whole series didn’t start with his mother and father going through the same process. This feels like a cycle moving back to the start of things. Kristin’s kids are growing up and finding their way in the world, and her husband and her other first love are both aging and seem close to death. She’s back to where we began and as the trappings of life start shifting toward the next generation, Kristin is clearly at a crossroads in life. She can age gracefully or not, she can focus her attention on the next generation or she can devote her life to service.
I will spoil this to say (well, hey the novel is called The Cross) that she devotes her life to service.
This is a completely satisfying ending to one of the best sets of novels I have ever read.
The Grip of it – Jac Jemc – 2/5
I will tack on this review here because it’s a book I read and I won’t find another place for it anytime soon. I wanted this book to be good and I thought it WAS going to be good. It’s got a dumb cover, but it’s got a good premise. A young couple moves up to the middle of nowhere and buys a house in a small town because their financial situation needs them to move away from society to small town America. When they move in they realize that their house was TOO good a deal and there’s more going on in the house than they bargained for. There are strange occurrences, a mysterious presence in the house, and an older neighbor whose story seems to contain more than they first realize.
And of course, if you’re going to play around with convention you have to actually avoid cliche and this one just doesn’t. In a lot of ways it’s a rehash of “The Shining” but less good….instead of alcohol it’s gambling. Yes, the haunting becomes a metaphor for the death of a relationship…..yes, it’s also a metaphor for domestic violence. Yes, their craziness is also a metaphor for the alienation and shame and blame they experience as a couple.
So it turns out nothing much was happening anyway. I wanted to be scared for this one because I am having a stressful week and wanted some stimulus. This wasn’t it. It just relies too heavy on convention without doing anything with that.