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Tales of Two Countries   By: (1849-1906)

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Tales of Two Countries by Alexander Lange Kielland is a captivating novel that delves into the contrasting social structures and values of two neighboring countries. Set in the late 19th century, the story revolves around the lives of characters from Norway and Denmark, showcasing their distinct experiences and struggles.

Kielland's writing style effortlessly transports the reader to the picturesque landscapes and bustling cities of both countries. With vivid descriptions and attention to detail, the author effectively immerses us in the sights, sounds, and culture of each place. From the majestic fjords of Norway to the vibrant streets of Copenhagen, the settings come alive, contributing to the overall richness of the narrative.

At the heart of Tales of Two Countries are the characters, who are expertly developed and multidimensional. Kielland provides intimate portraits of individuals from diverse social backgrounds, allowing us to understand their motivations, aspirations, and inner dilemmas. Through these characters, the author explores various themes such as class divisions, societal expectations, and human resilience.

One fascinating aspect of the book is the exploration of the contrasting societal structures of Norway and Denmark. While Norway is depicted as a more egalitarian and progressive society with opportunities for upward mobility, Denmark represents a more rigid and hierarchical system where social status and privilege play a significant role. Kielland cleverly intertwines these two worlds, providing an intriguing juxtaposition that encourages the reader to reflect on the implications of societal structures on individual lives.

Moreover, Kielland's nuanced portrayal of the female characters is worth mentioning. In a time when women's voices were often silenced, he gives voice to strong and independent women who challenge societal norms and fight for their rights. These female characters add depth and complexity to the narrative, shedding light on the gender dynamics prevalent in both countries.

The plot of Tales of Two Countries unfolds seamlessly, with each chapter offering a unique perspective on the interconnected lives of the characters. Kielland masterfully weaves together different storylines, demonstrating his ability to create a cohesive and engaging narrative. However, at times, the plot does feel slow-paced, which may deter readers seeking more action-driven stories.

Overall, Tales of Two Countries is a thought-provoking novel that sheds light on the social intricacies of 19th-century Norway and Denmark. Alexander Lange Kielland's beautifully crafted prose, compelling characters, and exploration of societal structures make this book a worthwhile read for anyone interested in historical fiction or the complexities of human societies.

First Page:


By Alexander Kielland

Translated From The Norwegian By William Archer

With An Introduction By H. H. Boyesen




In June, 1867, about a hundred enthusiastic youths were vociferously celebrating the attainment of the baccalaureate degree at the University of Norway. The orator on this occasion was a tall, handsome, distinguished looking young man named Alexander Kielland, from the little coast town of Stavanger. There was none of the crudity of a provincial dither in his manners or his appearance. He spoke with a quiet self possession and a pithy incisiveness which were altogether phenomenal.

"That young man will be heard from one of these days," was the unanimous verdict of those who listened to his clear cut and finished sentences, and noted the maturity of his opinions.

But ten years passed, and outside of Stavanger no one ever heard of Alexander Kielland. His friends were aware that he had studied law, spent some winters in France, married, and settled himself as a dignitary in his native town. It was understood that he had bought a large brick and tile factory, and that, as a manufacturer of these useful articles, he bid fair to become a provincial magnate, as his fathers had been before him... Continue reading book >>

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