For twenty-five years, a solitary American novelist has been writing at the desk she inherited from a young poet who disappeared at the hands of Pinochet's secret police; one day a girl claiming to be the poet's daughter arrives to take it away, sending the writer's life reeling. Across the ocean, in the leafy suburbs of London, a man caring for his dying wife discovers, among her papers, a lock of hair that unravels a terrible secret. In Jerusalem, an antiques dealer slowly reassembles his father's study, plundered by the Nazis from Budapest in 1944.
Connecting these stories is a desk of many drawers that exerts a power over those who possess it or give it away. As the narrators of Great House make their confessions, the desk takes on more and more meaning, and comes finally to stand for all that has been taken from them, and all that binds them to what has disappeared.
Great House is a story haunted by questions: What do we pass on to our children, and how do they absorb our dreams and losses? How do we respond to disappearance, destruction, and change?
Nicole Krauss has written a soaring, powerful novel about memory struggling to create a meaningful permanence in the face of inevitable loss.
'In surges of mesmerizing sentences that are so complicated, clever, artful, and logically challenging that they read almost like aphorisms, Krauss aims to explicate, not the underlying implications of her characters' behaviour, but the very cycles of history. It's a daunting undertaking, one that not every writer under forty would choose or can do justice to, but Krauss's talent runs deep. And she cannot write a bad sentence: pound for pound, the sentences alone deliver epiphany upon epiphany.' Huffington Post
'Remarkable…Krauss builds a consuming rush of a novel, far more organic and eloquent than her much-lauded The History of Love.' Bookforum
'For readers who love beautiful language and complex characters, Great House will be hard to put down.' People
'Krauss' masterful rendition of character is breathtaking, compelling . . . This tour de force of fiction writing will deeply satisfy fans of the author's first two books and bring her legions more.' Booklist, Starred Review
'This stunning work showcases Krauss's consistent talent . . . a formidable and haunting mosaic of loss and profound sorrow.' Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
'The most heartbreaking part of Great House is having to finish it . . . As the mysteries of this beautifully written novel come spooling out, you'll marvel at how profoundly one brilliantly crafted extended metaphor involving a mute wooden artifact can remind us what it means to be alive.' Elle
What people are saying - Write a review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - labfs39 - LibraryThing
Several years ago I read [The History of Love], the second novel by Nicole Krauss, and was impressed enough to pick up this her third, even before it became a National Book Award finalist. Highly ... Read full review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - emilyingreen - LibraryThing
Couldn't get into this one. The plot of tracing an object's history through people's lives has been done many times over, and often better (Annie Proulx's "The Accordion Crimes" for one). Read full review