The Wild Orchid, the first volume of Nobel Prize-winning Undset’s novel The Winding Road, is the story of Paul Selmer, a typical child of the experientially emancipated, intellectually enlightened modern age. The son of upper middle class Protestant parents, who divorced when he was a teenager, Paul is raised along with his sister and two brothers by his mother to be a freethinker. Amidst the prosaic trappings of his work and play, the pursuit of a mistress and then a marriage, and with the threat of a world war looming over Norway, Paul yearns for a deeper, more abiding meaning and order for his hopes and loves. Similar to Undset’s masterpieces Kristin Lavransdatter and The Master of Hestviken, The Wild Orchid manifests the raw honesty and sensitivity with which its author perceives the human experience, capturing the peculiar tensions and harmonies of flesh and spirit in a drama of germinating grace.
About the Author
Sigrid Undset (20 May 1882 - 10 June 1949) was a Norwegian novelist who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1928. Undset was born in Kalundborg, Denmark, but her family moved to Norway when she was two years old. In 1924, she converted to Catholicism. She fled Norway for the United States in 1940 because of her opposition to Nazi Germany and the German invasion and occupation of Norway, but returned after World War II ended in 1945. Her best-known work is Kristin Lavransdatter, a trilogy about life in Scandinavia in the Middle Ages, portrayed through the experiences of a woman from birth until death. Its three volumes were published between 1920 and 1922.