Great House: A Novel

Front Cover
W. W. Norton & Company, Sep 6, 2011 - Fiction - 289 pages
77 Reviews

Finalist for the 2010 National Book Award in Fiction
Winner of the 2011 ABA Indies Choice Honor Award in Fiction
Winner of the 2011 Anisfield-Wolf Award
Shortlisted for the 2011 Orange Prize in Fiction

A powerful, soaring novel about a stolen desk that contains the secrets, and becomes the obsession, of the lives it passes through.

For twenty-five years, a reclusive American novelist has been writing at the desk she inherited from a young Chilean 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 in Budapest in 1944.

Connecting these stories is a desk of many drawers that exerts a power over those who possess it or have given 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. "This is a novel about the long journey of a magnificent desk as it travels through the twentieth century from one owner to the next. It is also a novel about love, exile, the defilements of war, and the restorative power of language."—National Book Award citation
  

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Nicole Krauss writes beautiful prose. - LibraryThing
They are at times difficult to read. - LibraryThing
Beautiful writing at parts. - LibraryThing
The book opens with a reclusive writer, Nadia. - LibraryThing
Nicole Krauss is an accomplished writer. - LibraryThing
Nicole Krauss writes the most beautiful mannered prose. - LibraryThing

LibraryThing Review

User 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

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User 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

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Contents

aLL rISe
3
trUe kINdNeSS
47
SWImmING HoLeS
75
LIeS toLd By CHILdreN
109
II
148
trUe kINdNeSS
171
aLL rISe
199
SWImmING HoLeS
239
WeISZ
273
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Nicole Krauss has been hailed by the New York Times as “one of America’s most important novelists.” She is the author of the international bestseller Great House, a finalist for the National Book Award, and Man Walks Into a Room. Her books have been translated into more than thirty-five languages.

Bibliographic information