The Wild Orchid
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By Sigrid Undset
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.
“Let me not be allowed to extinguish the spark that has again begun to glow within me.”
Sigrid Undset (1882–1949) was a Norwegian novelist and essayist and a convert to Catholicism. Her work is renowned for its realism and poignancy, and she is best known for her three-volume novel Kristin Lavransdatter. In 1928, Undset was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.