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Housebound

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4.27  ·  Rating details ·  26 ratings  ·  9 reviews
Elizabeth Gentry’s debut, Housebound, is a novel like no other: a disquieting and interior fairy-tale adventure through one family’s secrets and lies. Maggie, the eldest daughter, is preparing to leave the house in which she’s lived, worked, and been educated her whole life: a life led seemingly without contact with the outside world, save in the form of weekly trips to th ...more
Paperback, 235 pages
Published November 15th 2013 by Lake Forest College Press
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4.27  · 
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 ·  26 ratings  ·  9 reviews


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Rebecca H.
Nov 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Housebound tells the story of 19-year-old Maggie and her family, who live an isolated life in a large, oddly-shaped house. Maggie is the oldest of nine siblings, in a family that undermines the stereotype of large families as close-knit, their houses full of noise and chaos. This is a cautious, guarded family, with an emotionally-absent set of parents and a habit of watching each other carefully, making sure everyone follows the rules that, at this point, don’t have to be named. Everyone just kn ...more
Ampersand Books
Mar 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Reviewed by Leigh Jajuga

I’ve never relished the feeling of enclosure, but Elizabeth Gentry’s premier novel, Housebound, made me never want to leave the binding. Housebound is the book you never want to end, the one that beckons you back to its pages.

Gentry’s novel has a way of welcoming readers into the soft disquietude of their own memories, asking to recollect small happenstances, the framework of our present lives. While reading Housebound, I felt as if I were placed behind some gossamer curt
...more
Robin
Dec 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Elizabeth is a friend, but I would have picked up this book anyway. Its blending of fairytale themes and elements with true character studies and vivid depictions of family life . . . wow. I'm giving this book as a gift to people for Christmas, and I cannot wait to read it again myself. Maggie and her family remind me of characters in Shirley Jackson's fiction, and as I have with Merricat Blackwood, I will visit them again and again.
Laila (BigReadingLife)
This is an enthralling and slightly claustrophobic read. I felt compelled to keep reading, to see if our heroine, Maggie, was going to find her way out of the labyrinth of secrets and forgotten memories she was ensnared in. It's a dark, cautionary fairy tale, vague in time and place, but explicit in the ways families hurt each other and believe lies that both comfort and bind.
Kathryn Goldman
Nov 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Housebound is beautifully written, with an intriguing story line that takes you into the center of this isolated family. The book has the feel of a mystery as you try to unravel what is really going on. Taking place over only a few days, the detailed descriptions of their activities and interactions reminded me of a Virginia Woolf novel. Fascinating read!
Jenny
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent world-building in this. Although the environment Maggie inhabits is enclosed and claustrophobic, it is also filled with mystery and possibility. In addition, the psychic terrain of the family and the toxic secrets they keep is just as richly mapped and explored as the physical environment of their offbeat house and neighborhood. Genry's prose evokes a delicious fairytale quality that made this a compelling page-turner for me. A couple days after finishing it, I still find myself worryi ...more
Michelle Bailat-Jones
Sep 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Here is an excerpt from my review at Necessary Fiction:

The exceptional accomplishment of Housebound, however, is how it takes the novel’s revelations and turns them into the seeds of the family’s healing. Not through some easy or cheap emotional trick—in fact the path opened up for the characters is quite daunting, quite horrible—but in the way Gentry investigates each character’s complicated reaction, how particular these reactions turn out to be, how delicate and horrible and real they all fee
...more
Melissa
Dec 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
The author nails the tense, creepy atmosphere and complex emotions of a family living in shadows, and the frightening and triumphant power of storytelling.
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