Ginny's Reviews > Housekeeping

Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Jun 06, 2011

it was amazing
Read in April, 2011

I want to say that Housekeeping blew me out of the water, but in fact it pulled me under the water. Submersion is one of the themes of this novel – which, as far as I’m concerned, deserves every accolade it has received. Housekeeping is a quiet, powerful exploration of loss, memory, and place, all filtered through the story of an unusual family of women. There’s really no summary of this book’s plot that could do it justice – it isn’t about Ruthie’s childhood with her sister Lucille, really, it’s about death, or identity, or vagrancy, or place, or water, or something. The themes of this book are so quietly, understatedly beautiful that’s it’s difficult to put a finger on exactly what makes it so moving. Although the language is impressive, I'm not usually wowed by lyric style, and this is the rare book where I feel the passages of allusive, poetic lyricism are used sparingly and appropriately in order to enhance the novel's meaning, rather than overpower it.

In the end, I think it's the images of Housekeeping that have stuck with me, as the freighted images in a dream do -- a submerged train underneath a cold, clear lake; a waterlogged Victorian parlor; a little girl crossing a train bridge away from everything she's ever known. This book speaks to loss as powerfully as any I've ever read without being tediously about loss or grief or anything like that. It simply evokes and surrounds loss in a way that gives you entrance to it, something that I think anyone who has ever felt like a stranger in his or her own life can find useful. Housekeeping undoubtedly one of the most impressive, beautiful books I’ve read in years, and I think basically everyone else should read it too.
2 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Housekeeping.
Sign In »

No comments have been added yet.