Great House: A Novel

Front Cover
W. W. Norton & Company, Sep 6, 2011 - Fiction - 289 pages
1175 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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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jjaylynny - LibraryThing

Wanted to love this more than I did. I wanted it to be a literary "Red Violin". Its structure was in part genius, but not genius enough for me to easily reconstruct the desk's history, and with a book ... Read full review

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User Review  - gayla.bassham - LibraryThing

I adored The History of Love, but this one didn't work for me. Something about the writing--I thought all of the voices sounded similar, and I could never get into the characters. And the resolution was anticlimactic. Not a winner, in my opinion. Read full review

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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 Man Walks Into a Room, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book of the Year; The History of Love, a New York Times bestseller and winner of the Saroyan Prize for International Literature; Great House, a New York Times bestseller and finalist for the National Book Award; and Forest Dark. In 2007 she was selected as one of Granta's Best Young American Novelists, and in 2010 she was chosen for the New Yorker’s ‘Twenty Under Forty’ list. Her fiction has been published in the New Yorker, Harper's, Esquire, and Best American Short Stories, and her books have been translated into more than thirty-five languages. Nicole Krauss lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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