**spoiler alert** It's been a long time since I stayed up to finish a book but I've been staying up to the limits of my reasonable latest bed time to**spoiler alert** It's been a long time since I stayed up to finish a book but I've been staying up to the limits of my reasonable latest bed time to finish Mr. Fox. I usually have some reservations about book recommendation but not in this instance. Oyeyemi confronts and elucidates issues of representation and violence by forcing an artist to converse, co author and fall in love with his muse. Where is the harm in fantasies of women and violence and violence against women? This book provides this clearest arguments without ever reducing it to bullet points. I don't want to give a lot away. My concerns were initially that the book wouldn't be able to match in character development what it creates in critical thrust but I think it does. The characters are flooded with details of the time and St. John especially with the WWI soldier, grows especially in the last half of the book. A lot of people have told me they want to read this book. I really think everyone should. ...more
I spent the morning paging through literary theory & now I've come to finish up the last segment of Housekeeping. It isn't fair to call this (JulyI spent the morning paging through literary theory & now I've come to finish up the last segment of Housekeeping. It isn't fair to call this (July 2012) a re-reading a Housekeeping b/c in a way I continually read the book. I put it down and think about it. I remember passages and force myself to forget others so that when I come to read Housekeeping again, or think about it, I can learn anew. I think for years no one recommended me any good books to read. & then suddenly there was the suggestion of Housekeeping and almost the way it was explained to me I didn't have to read it to realize it would be a gift even though I bought it with my own money because it is a novella more than a novel and a narrative motivated, structured, strung-along by images not plot. The plot appears in bits at first and then vanishes and perhaps awakens at the end, but the plot of the story is not really the main concern of the story.
Reading the last 50 pages or so in one sitting condenses so much action however into the novel that if it weren't for the gift of the description, the lyrical quality of the writing, it would seem like an active book. But no. I will say that Robinson, or perhaps Ruthie (the narrative agency of characters is always a debate with me) is more and more willing as the end of the story dwindles, to confirm the reason for the past 200 pages. "The force behind the movement of time is a mourning that will not be comforted." (192) and earlier she describes the transients who fill the town as ghosts, a connection to her growing dead relatives that is no entirely clear to the poor reader somehow until Sylvie fits the pieces together for the town: family is grief but is is grief that stays with you. When a relative dies they do not leave.
It is unfortunate that Lucille seems to have cast off her mourning and no longer carries the ghosts of her dead relatives with her because Sylvie and Ruthie and weighed down with the spirits of their house. & if the reader can grasp that early the book will answer the question that seems to crop up (what was the point?/What is going on) among readings.
So I am very happy to be haunted by the story of Housekeeping--it feels like a compliment in some ways. ...more