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Topic: "Giants in the Earth": Best Novel I've Read This Year

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Subject: "Giants in the Earth": Best Novel I've Read This Year
Date Posted: 5/17/2010 2:40 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
Posts: 25,000
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Norweigian pioneers settling in the rough Dakota prairie. Rolvaag weaves a little of the northman's folklore a bit with the story but doesn't overdo it.

Just well written. Poetic in parts without being too ornate. Not too sparse either.  I looked forward to picking up this book to see what Per Hansa was up too. I was rooting for him and hoping his wife would get well. Well fleshed out characters. Dialog was superb.

I felt like I was there.

The ending knocked me in the head. Good thing I was reading in bed.

I need more Rolvaag.

Date Posted: 5/17/2010 7:31 PM ET
Member Since: 2/16/2009
Posts: 485
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Tome, I read Giants in the Earth in high school and I remember I loved it, too. I'm a product of midwest Norwegian immigrants, myself.  I adored Per Hansa, and although I've forgotten many of the details of the book, the end stays with me.  Update us please, if you read anymore of the trilogy.  I shied away from them because I got the idea somehow that the other two were darker than the first.

Date Posted: 5/21/2010 12:46 PM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2009
Posts: 611
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I love Rolvaag too. Coming from Minnesota and Swedish emigrant stock, I have a real affection for Nordic writers...and Rolvaag is one which I wish had more available to read from. Giants in the Earth was great. I've also read Peder Victorious and The Third Life of Per Smevik.  I just had a wish list request granted for his The Boat of Longing.   I've been waiting a long time to read that, and I can't wait. I'm currently reading a Selma Lagerlof story The Treasure   (on Kindle) and a current Swede writer Kerstin Ekman's book Under the Snow (an excellent murder mystery set in the Lapp culture in the hinterland of Sweden) so The Boat of Longing is next after those!

Date Posted: 5/21/2010 4:53 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
Posts: 25,000
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I put The Boat Longing on my wish list and then realized that I'll never move.  I was going to purchase it, but then read that it's a permanent cliff hanger because Mr. Rolvaag died before he could continue with the series.

Date Posted: 8/20/2010 3:57 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 54
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I just dropped in and noticed this thread.  I'm so glad you enjoyed Giants!

Date Posted: 8/27/2010 6:37 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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Those of you who enjoyed  Giants in the Earth, by Ole Rolvaag,  might also like Wisconsin: My Home.   It's not fiction, it's the story of Thurine Oleson as told to her daughter, Erna Oleson Xan.  (One of my daughters took a short course in Scandinavian Lit at the University of Wisconsin, and this little book was part of the reading for that class.)   The book is made up of sections called: Norway, America, Cooking, Church, Childhood, Neighbors, Tone, Courtship, Children, Kinfolk, Waupaca, Golden Wedding, and Genealogical Tables.  It was published by The University of Wisconsin Press, and the ISBN is 0-299-00714-6.

Another  Norwegian writer worthy of attention from serious readers (IMO) is Knut Hamsun.  He was the Nobel Prize for Literature winner in 1920.  After reading his novel, Growth of the Soil, I kept on thinking for a considerable time afterwards about the notions, motivations, and actions of the characters, particularly the farmer and his  . . . . .what to call her?  Hired  girl?   Domestic servant?    Housekeeper?    Helpmate?   ( In some ways, she was treated more like a brood mare than a WOMAN.)

Last Edited on: 8/29/10 7:26 PM ET - Total times edited: 4