Housekeeping

Housekeeping

Book - 2004
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"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, which is 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 illuminates the price of loss and survival, and the dangerous and deep undertow of transience."--BOOK JACKET.
Publisher: New York : Picador, [2004], c1980.
Branch Call Number: FICTION
Characteristics: 219 p. ;,21 cm.

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l
loella
Apr 13, 2021

The movie based on Housekeeping is a shimmering, elusive poem of visual style and meditative mood that I found totally resonant with Marilynne Robinson's novel, one of the most acclaimed first novels I can recall. It is narrated by its focal character, a young teenager, the elder of two sisters orphaned as little girls when their mother dropped them off with their grandmother and then drove off a cliff into the big glacial lake that their grandfather drowned in decades before when a train derailed off the long bridge over it. Ruth is recalling the incidents of the novel from the vantage of adulthood, and she evokes her imaginative as well as recollective responses to them in a dense but not complicated prose that seems to draw on the styles of William Faulkner and Willa Cather. The other principals are Ruth's sister Lucille and their aunt Sylvie, who, after years as a drifter, comes back to the house and town in which she grew up to care for the sisters. Sylvie's approach to housekeeping is singular, reflecting her hardened individuality and resignation from ordinary society, which Ruth comes to share but Lucille rejects before the end of the book, by which Ruth and Sylvie are also presumed to have been victims of the lake. Housekeeping is one of a handful of late-twentieth-century novels that will endure as an American classic. --Ray Olson

m
maipenrai
Mar 15, 2021

Because I loved the novel Gilead, I had very high hopes for this novel written 25 years earlier. Although the style of writing that would later win the Pulitzer is evident, I was left with a feeling of a lack of coherence. One character disappears never to be heard of again. I always want to feel at the end of a book that I know why an author has crafted the story. I did not have this sense of understanding. Kristi & Abby Tabby

r
rclane
Jan 17, 2021

The mournful malaise that infiltrates was captivating but heavy.

l
lindemuldercr
Dec 22, 2020

Didn't finish, only made it to pg 18. Not my style of reading.

g
glotet
Jul 07, 2019

Because of the high ratings I would like to say that I enjoyed reading this book, but I didn’t. I experienced it as dragging on with tiresome, inconsequential and repetitive details.

m
maipenrai
Mar 10, 2019

Because I loved the novel Gilead, I had very high hopes for this novel written 25 years earlier. Although the style of writing that would later win the Pulitzer is evident, I was left with a feeling of a lack of coherence. One character disappears never to be heard of again. I always want to feel at the end of a book that I know why an author has crafted the story. I did not have this sense of understanding. Kristi & Abby Tabby

r
ReaderWriterSTS
Jan 12, 2019

The writing is elegant, but at times its elegance gets in the way. The unceasing descriptions of the dreary landscape become grating, even as well-written as they are - and perhaps that is exactly as the author intended it - to cause the reader to experience the dreariness as relentless and gnawing and insistent. For me, this was a story about how the tentacles of tragedy embed themselves wholly into the hearts and minds and souls of the generations that follow and how those tentacles cause each person to move and adapt both unique and familial ways.

RogerDeBlanck Jul 27, 2018

With the success of Marilynne Robinson’s remarkable Pulitzer-winning novel Gilead in 2005, few people remembered that her first novel appeared twenty-five years earlier with similar accolades. Housekeeping was published in 1980 to great critical reception, resulting in a PEN/Faulkner Award. Her first novel examines the ordinariness of life and how to elevate it to the extraordinary by making it something holy, sacred, and beautiful. Taking place in the small Northwestern town of Fingerbone, the story traces several generations of women in one family and examines how they encounter obstacles and how they endure them. The elements of water, air, ice, wind, and snow recur throughout the story and lend symbolism to the lives of the family. In addition, Robinson’s luminous prose is always a delight to read.

s
SunsetBranch
Mar 25, 2018

Don't worry about the story, just read it for the amazing prose

m
mperson
Jul 11, 2017

Great book

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