Cleaning Nabokov's House
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Cleaning Nabokov's House

3.3 of 5 stars 3.30  ·  rating details  ·  843 ratings  ·  257 reviews

A moving novel about a woman who must pull her life together and find a way to love again after the marriage she gave up everything for fails.

MP3 Book, 0 pages
Published February 15th 2011 by Blackstone Audio, Inc. (first published 2011)
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Jeniffer Almonte
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...more
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...more
Jan
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
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
Mmars
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...more
Michelle
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
Janet
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!
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...more
RNOCEAN
*CLEANING NABOKOV'S HOUSE* by Leslie Daniels
“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...more
Patricia
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.

Ba...more
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...more
Sarah
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
Denise
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
Lori
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...more
Beth
"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
Lynn
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
Alisea
Una mattina di primavera, nel piccolo paesino di provincia in cui vive, Barbara Barrett sta caricando la lavastoviglie mentre suo marito la osserva lì di fianco. Quando comincia a darle istruzioni su come dovrebbe disporre piatti e bicchieri, Barbara ficca a casaccio una tazza di caffè tra le stoviglie, prende la porta e se ne va. Un gesto che le farà perdere tutto, persino la custodia dei bambini. Ma con i guadagni di un lavoro un po’ strambo – rispondere alle lamentele della gente per una nota...more
Elizabeth
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Judy
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.
Norma
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.
Linda
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'.
Krysia
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.
Julie
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.
Kim
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.
Deb
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
Beth
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...more
Mary
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!
Lisa
Barb Barrett, newly divorced and living in upstate New York, is trying to cope with the fact that she has lost custody of her two young children. She has no money, a ratty old car and a part-time job that barely pays anything. She's afraid of what her children are thinking - do they think she's abandoned them? Do they think she doesn't want them to live with her? When she made the decision to leave her controlling husband, she had no idea it would go this badly.

Barb finds a little house to rent...more
Brandi
(I read and reviewed this book because I received it for free through Goodreads' First Reads program.)

A quick, entertaining read, Cleaning Nabokov's House is alternately funny, poignant, and smart, and sometimes all three at once. I occasionally had trouble following the plot, but there were so many tiny moments of brilliant insight that it hardly mattered. Her description of Nabokov is a perfect example: "Reading Nabokov was like eating pâté straight, no crackers, with a chocolate truffle chas...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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