A beautiful piece of writing -- perhaps the finest thing Sigrid Undset has written since the inimitable Kristin Lavransdatter. The publishers are promoting and selling this as fiction. I feel that its best chance for wide distribution lies in the sale of the book as autobiography of the Marbacka genre. That much loved book, with its sequels, has made a place for itself and added to the fame of the author, Salma Lagerlof. The Longest Years, the poignant story of a childhood in Norway and Denmark, though told in the third person, bears all the earmarks of personal history, an extraordinarily vivid reincarnation of childhood, sharpened by adult perspective, but singularly unsentimental, and utterly lacking any sort of attempt at adult interpretation and realignment of material. It has a nostalgic quality that is sure to make each reader recall bits of her (or his) own childhood. And, at the same time, it makes vivid and real, a background with which few readers are familiar, and which is glimpsed and captured unforgettably. An exquisite book.