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Infinite Home

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  2,912 ratings  ·  387 reviews
"[E]xpect to find insights that make you stop, go back and read again.... Take it from us:You don't know what's coming in the last third of this book, and youwillbe astounded." —O,the Oprah Magazine

A beautifully wrought story of an ad hoc family and the crisis they must overcome together.

Edith is a widowed landlady who rents apartments in her Brooklyn brownstone to an
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published August 4th 2015 by Riverhead Books (first published July 30th 2015)
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Average rating 3.58  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,912 ratings  ·  387 reviews

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Diane S ☔
Jun 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For years, Edith has offered a home in her Brooklyn Brownstone, a building that her now dead husband, Declan, had bought for them after they were married. Their daughter left home for Haight Ashbury he seventies and hasn't been seen again, their son, the villain of the piece only wants what he feels he is owed. Tenants came and went, until the last several years when the group of residents have stayed the same. A disparate group of people, all seeking a shelter from their lives, a group of ...more
B the BookAddict
Aug 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to B the BookAddict by: Diane S, Larry, Terri
Shelves: fiction
Alcott weaves a mesmerising tale about the bonds formed between the landlord of a brownstone and her tenants. Over several years, this group has formed within their abode, tight connections whose strength comes to the fore when the nucleus, landlord Edith, starts slowly descending into the mists of dementia.

Thomas, the artist and recent stroke victim, who no longer feels any creative impetus; he will begin the most unlikely relationship with Adeleine, the agoraphobic who has made herself a
Aug 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: public-library
'How do you tell someone her life has become too much for her?'

Renters in a Brooklyn brownstone. Thomas the painter, now sidelined due to a stroke which has left his left arm wilted. The childlike Paulie, living with Williams Syndrome, an endearing, happy, social butterfly. Adeleine, an agoraphobic who truly believes she just prefers to stay at home. Edward, a standup comic, but nobody laughs anymore. These are just some of the irregular weaves who live in Edith's building and they are all about
Larry H
Aug 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lyrical, moving, and absolutely exquisite, Kathleen Alcott's Infinite Home had me marveling at her beautiful, almost poetic prose, reveling in the memorable characters, and even getting a bit choked up from time to time.

This is a book about how we find comfort, and sometimes anguish, in the home we make for ourselves and the family we choose to embrace, biological or otherwise. It's also a book about finding strength where we didn't know we had it, and the different ways we adapt to and cope
Aug 13, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I so so want to like this book. I'm now half-way through and still want to like it. But I have this urge to take my highlighter and start accentuating every simile and metaphor and that Ms. Alcott uses, and tonight I came to the realization that if I do that, every page will be filled with color. The story is an intriguing one, and I've fallen in love with some of the characters (which is the only reason I will finish the book) but she is trying way too hard to show all of us that she's a ...more
Edith, the kind-hearted widowed landlady who can’t seem to recall where her errant husband, Declan, has gone off to or when he will return.

Paulie, a man in his mid-thirties with William’s Syndrome, his sister Claudia who struggles with taking care of her brother, Claudia along with Edward, a comic who dislikes almost everyone and everything.

Adeleine, beautiful but overwhelmed by the world outside her door.

Thomas, a successful artist who struggles with the limitations a recent stroke has
Cheeky Cher
2.5 stars - It was alright, an average book.

Felt overwritten and slow in places. To illustrate what I mean by overwritten, below is the first chapter in its entirety (all the chapters are short). This writing style can be beautiful when used sparingly but is over the top when it flows continuously.

THE NEIGHBORS HADN’T NOTICED the building’s slow emptying, didn’t register the change until autumn’s lavish colors arrived and leaves sailed through the windows the man hadn’t bothered to shut. The
Nov 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Once, when I was getting ready for a move, a friend said, “Remember, home is nothing more than a piece of real estate.” But I knew then – and I know now – that it is really much more. Home is the place where you are your most authentic self, a place of sanctuary and acceptance.

Kathleen Alcott wisely understands that. In a run-down Brooklyn brownstone, overseen by an octogenarian named Edith who is beginning to lose her mind, a ragtag small group of men and women feel anxious for their future.
Emily M
Aug 20, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, literary-fic
Kathleen Alcott is a tremendous writer, and she delivers extremely strong prose here. However, I strangely felt like there was both way too much and not nearly enough going on throughout this book. A worthwhile read, but not as unputdownable as I would have liked.
May 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
After years of cycling through tenants in her Brooklyn brownstone, Edith comes to expect the four apartments in her building will be empty not long after they are filled. But as she ages, she fails to notice a defined group forming in her halls and settling down for good: Eddie, a lonely, washed-up comic; Paulie, a tender-hearted young man with Williams syndrome; Thomas, an artist adjusting to life after a stroke; and Adeleine, an anxious and reclusive young woman. Over time, the four tenants ...more
Sep 06, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unfinished
When you look for "purple prose" in the dictionary, this book should be listed as example number one. I have never seen such overuse of metaphor, simile and adjectives. For example:

"The bubbly pleasure drained from Paulie’s face. He looked at Edward like tourists look at the mona lisa, searching & wary as they wait to be touched by glory."

If it were only used here & there it might be okay, but the sentences that don't use heavy handed descriptors are few and far between.

Book Riot Community
Now in paperback: A group of unusual tenants in a Brooklyn brownstone have been living quiet lives together, each dealing with their own problems and pains, but when their kind elderly landlord’s mental capacity begins to weaken, the tenants are faced with eviction when her greedy estranged son takes over the building. They have always found solace in each other, but now must decide what they will do back out in a world that has always treated them cruelly. It’s a beautiful story of living on ...more
Marion Honey
Jul 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Everyone's review says this but that's because it is true: this is a beautifully written book. Something to read if you want to get yourself back into reading and/or writing. Alcott pulls out the metaphors so effortlessly yet with an eery sense of familiarity. A portrait into the lives of five tenants and their landlady in Brooklyn, this is a simple story with strong storytelling. It takes a little time to get into but Alcott quickly hits her stride. I chuckled, I choked up. I had to stay up til ...more
Aug 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Always, always, it's about the writing. And boy, oh boy, does this young lady know how to compose beautiful sentences. Lyrical, powerful writing. I loved this book!
Chad Donnick
Aug 30, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Infinite Home just did not engage me. The biggest issue I had was that the characters were uninteresting and simply not written well. It was very difficult to get into the characters with very short chapters killing any momentum that may have been building up. I also felt that the author's writing style tries to squeeze too much information into sentences. I love commas more than most, but wow.

I read another review about the characters being damaged. I found this to be true, but it didn't have
Sally Howes
4.5s - A real microcosm of humanity in all its eccentric gloryi! These characters are exquisite - their strengths, their frailties, their joys, their sorrows, their tenderness, ruthlessness, loves, hates, and above all, their authenticity. The language is of the highest quality, which is the least these wonderful characters and their enthralling story deserve. Most highly recommended! ...more
Jessica Jeffers
I liked Proximal Alphabets much better than this, which often felt bogged down by a lack of forward movement and heavy prose trying too hard to be lyrical. I wanted to like it, but I was ultimately underwhelmed.
Tyler Goodson
Jun 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs
This was beautiful and I felt like I found a home in this world, this writing, and these characters.
Jun 16, 2015 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-won
I won this book on Goodreads first reads!
Oct 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
I finished this book a couple of days ago and now that I am going back to write up my thoughts, I wonder if I am giving this the correct rating with 4. Let's put it this way, it earned at least that much!

A story about Edith, the rooming house she owns in Brooklyn and its' tenants. I found myself pulled into this ragtag collection of individuals and really loved the characters. A story about family, both in the true sense of the word as well as more loosely, as in this case, the boarders. With
John Naylor
Oct 27, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book for free via Goodreads First Reads.

It took me a while to decide on a 2 star rating for this book. It is well written, it shows the author has a talent for words that few authors have, it deals with issues such as Williams Syndrome as well as dementia and the book has a lot of interesting characters. There are a lot of positive things about this book and a few things I enjoyed.

I just feel it was overwritten, slow and the plot was weak at times. As much as I enjoyed the
Marilyn Woodward
Disclosure: I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher but that will not affect my review. There was much about Infinite Home I really liked--the assortment of people who live in the Brooklyn brownstone and the owner were interesting, intriguing characters. However. I have to say that I was put off by the actual writing style, which seemed to need a bit more simplicity and less imagery and metaphors to describe--everything. I kept thinking the author, who writes well, needs to ...more
Mar 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel is simply a collection of crazy people. Alcott has a great way of showing how all of us are just holding it together and once it starts to leak out we are in trouble. Most of this novel reminds me of the David Foster Wallace quote about how we are all so busy hiding our own issues that we don't notice any others and that if simply asked what is wrong we will erupt into a ball of chaos.

Alcott's crazies all live in a small apartment building owned by Edith in NYC. They are long term
Robert Blumenthal
Sep 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is what one would call a beautifully written novel. It is apparent that the author crafted every sentence as carefully and artistically as she could. I thought of her as the "anti-Raymond Carver", where Carver is as spare and unencumbered as a writer of fiction can be. On the other hand, Kathleen Alcott strives to make every sentence unique and poetic. Although I appreciated this craft, I did find myself tiring of it a bit as the novel progressed. She does create wonderfully drawn ...more
Ed Maher
Aug 11, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What an absolute mess. A novel? More like a long, bad poem that does not even rhyme. Some one needs to teach this poor woman how to tell a story. The stringing together of words might pass for writing in her mind, but she needs to structure a plot somewhere a long the way. Example: How does a half paralyzed man fly across the country, rent a car and track down a missing person entirely on his own. I can't believe I wasted my time on such crap. The worst book I've read in years.
Sarah Forester
Aug 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The words that I perpetually relate to this book are the lyrics, "Potentially lovely, perpetually human, suspended and open"

One of the greatest joys of reading this book is the way none of the characters feel forcibly quirky or lazily caricatured. The delicate balance of details and mystery is most striking in the way the characters narrate the past, and most comforting in the ways that the characters accept the present. It felt like the parting smile of a hospice patient, leaving you sad,
Andrea MacPherson
A novel in short vignettes, about the lives of all the renters in a brownstone. Much to enjoy, but a few storylines that felt unnecessary and melodramatic (specifically Edith's two-dimensional son, and the implausible failed search for her daughter).

Each of the characters is damaged in their own way--body impaired after stroke, agoraphobia, Williams Syndrome, dementia. While they each work individually, it also felt like too much in one place.

Alcott has lovely writing, and the ability to
Jessica Sullivan
In this sad, beautiful novel, Kathleen Alcott presents us with a cast of unforgettable characters: a group of lonely misfits who inhabit a small apartment building in Brooklyn.
Since her husband's death, Edith, the elderly owner and landlord of the building, has rented out her units to people who might not receive such a warm welcome elsewhere and shown them respect and dignity in spite of their circumstances. There's Thomas, a painter trying to re-acclimate to life after a stroke that paralyzed
Zoe Hall
I received this book as a result of winning a Goodreads giveaway so thank you very much for sending me a copy of this book.

Now what can I say about this book? I really, really wanted to love this book. It'd been on my TBR list for a while so of course I was very excited when I saw I'd won a copy. However, and please don't take this the wrong way, but I just didn't enjoy this book as much as I was expecting. I only really cared for Edith. I actually found myself skimming pages and even whole
Apr 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alcott's characters are beautifully drawn and their plight, so simple and ordinary and yet given urgency for those very reasons, makes it easy to become an honorary member of this apartment building's "family." The novel takes a few minutes to find its footing (the opening page-long prologue is not a great introduction) but almost before you know it, you are drawn into the quiet near-melancholy of this fading moment and propelled along to the equally quiet near-joy of the next moment's birth. A ...more
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Born in 1988 in Northern California, Kathleen Alcott is the author of the novels Infinite Home and The Dangers of Proximal Alphabets. Her short fiction, criticism, memoir, and food writing have appeared in outlets including The New York Times, The Guardian, The New Yorker Online, The Los Angeles Review of Books, ZYZZYVA, Tin House, The Bennington Review, and The Coffin Factory.

In 2017, her short
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“In the first months without him, Edith had marveled at how many different types of quiet there could be. What had been so different about the levels of noise with him sitting in the chair, reading for hours in his drugstore glasses? Why did every shower, now, feel like such an exercise in fallacy, preparation for an event never coming, though this had always been a lone ritual?” 2 likes
“It made him feel that waiting meant more than how it felt in the moment, that little seconds often combined and became something of weight and worth.” 1 likes
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