Jana's Reviews > Housekeeping

Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson
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Mar 29, 10

bookshelves: heart-and-mind
Read in March, 2010

No doubt about, Marilynne Robinson is one of my all time favourite North American authors. Sadly, she only wrote 3 books. Intellectually they are deep and I have a feeling like I will never be fully ready for her analysis. Her prose is challenging, imagery is pure eloquence, and emotionally her books are, well... Not easy, to be gentile with my choice of words.

But what can you expect from a book where all the emotions are taken away and replaced with water, change of light, wood and wind. Loneliness, flow of a life, abandonment, darkness, sadness, suicide, depression, unsettledness, isolation, mind drifting and instability - if anything, Robinson’s books are always so startlingly quiet and metaphorical.

Especially if you are a child, and your mother commits suicide never explaining why, in a letter, in a gesture, previous sign of unhappiness. So you and your sister are left alone in this forgotten little wooden house, with the housekeeping spirits, with old people. First your grandmother who shortly after you come, dies, then you are placed with your old aunts and then your mother’s sister who doesn’t touch, doesn’t talk, stares in blank spaces, mostly doesn’t prepare meals and leaves you abandoned to be taken care by lake water, grey shades of winter, trains that howl in night, endless questions and bottomless sorrow.

I don’t know, she is just so far away from any other author. You can literally be in her books, exhale and inhale slowly and silently.
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