Housekeeping: A Novel (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews


Marilynne Robinson is an incredible writer! I won’t pull any punches,
this is a dark, dark story but the writing is spectacular. Just don’t
read it in the thick of winter when you’re feeling a little “down." Two
young girls, Ruth and Lucille, are being raised first by their
grandmother, then by two incompetent aunts and finally by a very
eccentric aunt. Even the name of their town, “Fingerbone” leaves the
reader feeling a bit edgy; in fact, the town could be considered as much
a character of this book as the humans; interaction between both
heavily impacts the plot. I’m certain someday, this book will be
considered a classic. It’s a great book club discussion!

— Karen L.

Description


A modern classic, Housekeeping is the story of Ruth and her younger sister, Lucille, who grow up haphazardly, first under the care of their competent grandmother, then of two comically bumbling great-aunts, and finally of Sylvie, their eccentric and remote aunt. The family house is in the small Far West town of Fingerbone set on a glacial lake, the same lake where their grandfather died in a spectacular train wreck, and their mother drove off a cliff to her death. It is a town "chastened by an outsized landscape and extravagant weather, and chastened again by an awareness that the whole of human history had occurred elsewhere." Ruth and Lucille's struggle toward adulthood beautifully illuminates the price of loss and survival, and the dangerous and deep undertow of transience.

About the Author


Marilynne Robinson is the recipient of a 2012 National Humanities Medal, awarded by President Barack Obama, for "her grace and intelligence in writing." She is the author of Gilead, winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award, Home, winner of the Orange Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and Lila, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her first novel, Housekeeping, won the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award. Robinson's nonfiction books include The Givenness of Things, When I Was a Child I Read Books, Absence of Mind, The Death of Adam, and Mother Country, which was nominated for a National Book Award. She teaches at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop and lives in Iowa City.

Praise For…


“So precise, so distilled, so beautiful that one doesn't want to miss any pleasure it might yield.” —Le Anne Schreiber, The New York Times Book Review

“Here's a first novel that sounds as if the author has been treasuring it up all her life...You can feel in the book a gathering voluptuous release of confidence, a delighted surprise at the unexpected capacities of language, a close, careful fondness for people that we thought only saints felt.” —Anatole Broyard, The New York Times

“I found myself reading slowly, than more slowly--this is not a novel to be hurried through, for every sentence is a delight.” —Doris Lessing

Product Details
ISBN: 9780312424091
ISBN-10: 0312424094
Publisher: Picador
Publication Date: October 14th, 2004
Pages: 224
Language: English
 

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