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Cleaning Nabokov's House

3.32 of 5 stars 3.32  ·  rating details  ·  892 ratings  ·  265 reviews
“I knew I could stay in this town when I found the blue enamel pot floating in the lake. The pot led me to the house, the house led me to the book, the book to the lawyer, the lawyer to the whorehouse, the whorehouse to science, and from science I joined the world.”

So begins Leslie Daniels’s funny and moving novel about a woman’s de
ebook, 336 pages
Published March 1st 2011 by Touchstone (first published 2011)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,804)
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Jen  Ferreira
I feel like Leslie Daniels is a much better writer than the book that she actually wrote, if that makes any sense at all. She has a wonderful, literary voice. But it isn't well-served by the melodrama of her debut novel. And I would be really interested to see what she does in the future.

The premise of "Cleaning Nabokov's House" is clever. A woman buys a home that had once been lived in by the famous author and, finding an unfinished manuscript that might have been his, decides to share it with
Laura Stone Johnson
I downloaded this audio book without remembering why I had requested it. Just going by the title, without any book jacket to set me straight, I thought I’d be hearing a fairly dense literary tale, reflective of Nabokov. Instead I got a nice wry and sardonic romantic comedy, that yes, does have something to do with Nabokov, but not in any way one might have expected. Most of the story is wildly unrealistic, but are we really looking for realism in what turns out to be a cute romance?

Newly divorc
Barb is newly divorced and she has just discovered that the house she has moved into was once occupied by Vladimir Nabokov. Barb uses cleaning this house as a balm to soothe the sting left by divorce. While cleaning, she finds a manuscript that may have been written by the famous author.

Rather than give us heavy drama, Daniels gives a light and humorous story. A funny, feel good, easy to read story.
Barb Barrett is approaching age 40 when her life gets turned upside down. Her husband is divorcing her and he is taking their two children. She moves into a home once owned by Vladimir Nabokov and finds a manuscript that she believes is a lost work of his. She tries to get it published or at least find out who wrote it as the "experts" don't think it's Nabokov's work. She is also trying to get the kids back. She has to find a way to make a living. How she goes about this is very clever. It invol ...more
Hate to review another book that's not out yet, but cleaning Nabokov's house soooo good, funny and incredibly twisty, spot-on characterizations. It starts out slow, you think it's going to be a depressing small book about this poor kind of nebbishy, odd vague woman whose husband basically steamrolled her in the divorce--and turns out to be laugh-out-loud funny, gentle and humane. Watch for it!
Janet Gardner
Barbara Barrett is recently divorced, underemployed, displaced from her beloved New York City, and worried about her upcoming fortieth birthday. Mostly, though, she’s desperately missing her two children. Her control-freak ex has taken custody, having demonstrated in court that Barbara is unstable (possibly true) and an unfit mother (decidedly untrue). She finds what may or may not be an unfinished novel manuscript by Vladimir Nabokov (for a brief time in the 1950s, he rented the house she lives ...more
There are so many books out there that are not really good literature and also not bad popular fiction. For some reason this book sparked my interest. A review? Something I read here on Goodreads or in a magazine review? The title, quite possibly. Sadly, another contemporary fiction book that let me down.

I actually enjoyed the main character and narrator, Barb, in a way. She puts herself down a lot, as one who has just left a marriage might,and she's offbeat but she somehow muddles her way thro
2.5 stars. Fun book about a (very) late 30s woman who has to rebuild her life after her divorce and, more importantly, losing custody of her two children. It hovers over some middle ground between chick lit and women’s fiction. Barb, the narrator, is easy to root for because though she’s down you know she’s not out. This book does require quite a bit suspension of disbelief. The narrator opens a whorehouse (revealed in the first paragraph) but the clients are women. Um, I don't think so. The rea ...more
Jul 12, 2011 Sarah rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sarah by: Jenny
Shelves: read-in-2011
I love reading books about people who have messed up so deeply and painted themselves into such awful corners that it's nearly impossible to see how they'll ever triumph again. And then I love watching them triumph. CLEANING NABAKOV'S HOUSE has all that and more going for it; it's literary and witty and poignant, but also hysterically funny. A friend gave me the book because it takes place in upstate New York (where I went to college), and because it deals with books and the publishing industry. ...more
Nicolas Shump
I have to admit that I was drawn to this book because of the title. The book jacket tells me that the author, Leslie Daniels is an accomplished writer and editor with an MFA degree. So I knew that I could expect polished writing and a good narrative structure, unless she tended more towards the metafictional side of things. Thankfully she doesn’t.
Instead, Daniels crafts a compelling and ultimately optimistic novel about literature, fame, motherhood, and the costs of divorce. Barb Barnett is t
“I knew I could stay in this town when I found the blue enamel pot floating in the lake. The pot led me to the house, the house led me to the book, the book to the lawyer, the lawyer to the whorehouse, the whorehouse to science, and from science I joined the world.” So begins Leslie Daniels’s funny and moving novel about a woman’s desperate attempt to rebuild her life. When Barb Barrett walks out on her loveless marriage she doesn’t realize she will
Notable authors, such as Karen Joy Fowler, Alison Lurie, Dorothy Allison and several others, have high praise for Leslie Daniels' novel. They describe the book as "witty, original, appealing, charming, quirky, captivating and moving." Can all of those writers be wrong? No. Cleaning Nabokov's House is everything that it's cracked up to be. This is one of those rare books that's so delicious that you want to devour it in one sitting, yet you have to slow down because you don't want it to end.

Carla Ford
Barb Barrett is a hero to women who think they are trapped in a marriage or a life that doesn't fulfill them. Okay, possible she could think things through a little better than she has lately, but then again, her instinct seems to be her best guide. Stuck in a marriage to a man who seems to want to control her every move, along with squashing her personality and individuality, Barb decides that she has had enough and leaves, taking her two children, Sam and Darcy, with her. Unfortunately, she ha ...more
Melanie Cohen
There were things I liked about this book, which is about a woman who lost her kids in a divorce and eventually buys up a house once lived in by Vladimir Nabokov. I loved reading the snippets of Nabokov woven throughout the book. Nabokov was the reason I picked it up in the first place. I even thought the writing itself was mostly good, syntactically. However, the problems I had with the book outweighed what I liked about it.
The main character, Barb, was SO annoying within the first hundred page
Cleaning Nabokov's House is Barb Barrett's story of falling apart during her restrictive marriage and nasty divorce and pulling herself together again so she can get her children back. I found the book to be both full of tired clichés and bizarrely unrealistic and fantastical. Barb's "ex- person", as she calls him, is a caricature of a bad ex, her kids are cute and quirky in a very one-dimensional way, and she is just plain crazy. I found all the stuff about Nabokov's supposed unpublished manusc ...more
From the opening graph -- “I knew I could stay in this town when I found the blue enamel pot floating in the lake. The pot led me to the house, the house led me to the book, the book to the lawyer, the lawyer to the whorehouse, the whorehouse to science, and from science I joined the world.” -- I knew I liked Leslie Daniels and her main character, Barb Barrett.

The book isn't chick lit, exactly, and certainly not that that brings to mind Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte. But it is about a
"How many women do we know who just stay in a marriage such as Barb's was to the experson? Yet, Barb has the courage to walk away. True, she may not have thought to closely on the consequences of her actions and flounders for a time. I thought through her voice you could hear when she became responsible for her future and the outcome she desired. The steps she takes to that end are a little unconventional, but every one is different in how they deal with things. I was unsure of story at first, b ...more
Thank you goodreads for chosing me to read your book. I wasn't sure what this book was really going to be about by the cover. I thought the book started out to be one of those run of the mill stories, about a women who lost her children to a bad divorce and how she struggled to make ends meet, etc... Well, Cleaning Nabokov's House has many twists and turns, which you sure would not expect when you first begin to read this book. I thought the book was entertaining and showed how thinking out of t ...more
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I had a fun time reading this incredibly improbable story. I liked that it was supposed to take place in Ithaca NY and that the fictitious university was supposed to be Cornell. Two of my children, a daughter-in-law and my husband are alums. Reality must be suspended; it was a fun read.
Barb Barrett is recently divorced, a total mess, and at first hard to like. As the book progresses she takes an unusual path to get her life back together. The journey is comedic, Barb is gutsy, and the trip is wild. I won this book in a Firstreads give away.
Might have been good timing after some heavier reading but I thought charming and made me smile many times. Example:

"He gave a plosive little gaelic pluff which could have meant 'piss off' or 'I might sleep with you if you wore better shoes'.
I fully anticipated disliking this novel, a story about a divorced mother of two going through a rough patch after she loses custody of the children to her Experson. (A friend put it in my hands and told me to read it.) I also fully did not like the protagonist when I started reading, but I think that was intentional on Leslie Daniels' part, because I ended up enjoying her very much by the end of the novel. This is also a book that did not go the way I imagined it would go, and definitely threw ...more
The first few chapters about her marital problems with the experson were quite funny. The novel ended up being much different from what the description on the book's cover led me to believe it would be, particularly concerning Nabokov.
What started out as a charming and promising book, quickly took a wrong turn as the main character desides to open a male cathouse to service the bored women of the town. Don't bother.
This book took some unexpected turns for me. i didn't exactly love her portrayal of upstate NY moms . . . me being one myself. It was an ok read. A romance in disguise.
Sigh. I overlooked many of the Goodreads comments because this novel looked like it would be another with a quirky style and story not unlike my previous "read". Alas, though I had found the negative comments for Shine, Shine,Shine puzzling, I must agree wholeheartedly that Cleaning Nabokov's House is a disappointment. I described it as being "quirky", because it has elements and characters of significant oddity but somehow the result is a collection of rambling snippets which never quite pull t ...more
Really, really enjoyed this book!! The author was so crystal-clear in showing us the interior of the main character. Which amazed me because the main character is so … quirky.

I'm sure it helped that I was going through a very similar situation as the main character as I read the book. Complete coincidence but it really brought home some of the feelings of the main character. Although I will say I could never picture her as a "Barb." The name just never fit for me.

But the book is so well writte
Jun 13, 2011 Mary rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: it is a "chick" read, I would say.
Recommended to Mary by: Caitlin Loehr
Shelves: fiction
So funny! Chuckles, chortles, chuckles, snorts, this book is so funny. Thank you, Leslie Daniels! More, more!
Reading this book was like having a conversation with a good friend. Once the story began to unfold (it was a bit of a slow starter, but well worth the wait) I was enraptured by the twists Ms. Daniels provided as the main character found her way in a world ripped apart. I found myself leaving each chapter with the hint of a smile on my face as I joined Barb in her journey. The characters were well developed and interesting without seeming over the top. The struggle of Barb to return normalcy to ...more
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“I knew I would stay in this town when I found the blue enamel pot floating in the lake. The pot led me to the house, the house led me to the book, the book to the lawyer, the lawyer to the whorehouse, the whorehouse to science, and from science I joined the world.” 4 likes
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