Eileen Souza's Reviews > Great House

Great House by Nicole Krauss
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's review
Jan 15, 11

bookshelves: europe, north-america, world-war, judaism
Read in January, 2011

This book was a recommendation I received from Brookline Booksmith. It's the story of a desk, and the lives of the people who have had the desk over time. It's actually similar to Cloud Atlas in that it was a variety of short stories, with completely different characters and livelihoods, yet all connected by this desk. However, these stories were more connected than Cloud Atlas, though not presented in the Matryoshka dolls style, and the message wasn't as profound.

The writing was very lyrical, written from the perspective of intelligent people, though a bit unrealistic and overly flowery. There were several phrases and moments in the book that I enjoyed - my favorite being "I'm embarrassed to say that my eyes actually filled with tears, Your Honor, though as is so often the case, the tears sprang from older, more obscure regrets that I had delayed thinking about, which the gift, or loan, of a stranger's furniture had somehow unsettled".

The story stories were definitely written in a way that kept you guessing, and wondering where each story was going, and several ended in ways that you did not expect. There were also some interesting characters in the story - I believe my favorite was Dovik's Dad. Think of an Israeli Sh*t My Dad Says. I was intrigued by Lotte, and left wanting at the end of that story, but overall the book was intriguing to read.

A solid three stars, but not enjoyable enough to be four.

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