Jamie's Reviews > Housekeeping

Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson
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's review
Nov 26, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: read-in-2011, favorites, field-exam-reading-list
Recommended to Jamie by: Gregory Glazier and Gina P
Read from June 20 to 23, 2011 — I own a copy

Robinson's prose is just...astonishing. I savored every page of this book, and found myself often unable to put the book down; it came with me on the subway; it came to drinks-with-friends; even to a concert last night, after which I voraciously finished the novel in bed post-concert, bleary-eyed and muscle-ache-y. I haven't been so 'into' a book in maybe six months, being a burned-out English graduate student that always craves reading, but doesn't always have the attention span of late.

This is the tale of two sisters, Ruthie (the narrator) and Lucille, passed from family member to family member in an incredibly tiny town called Fingerbone. There's just something about stories set in secluded communities and driven, seemingly by accident, entirely by female characters that gets me (see also Morrison's Sula). The back cover of the book calls this a tale of "transience," which I found quite apt (something I rarely believe about dust jacket synopses); though the act of being a transient is a somewhat fringe-plotline, the shadows of impermanence, mobility, and a kind of disaggregation of traditional life stories lurk around each tight-knit phrase of this beautiful novel. (Sylvie's knack for telling the bizarre stories of strangers becomes a kind of condensation of this theme.)

Unsure why I put reading this one off for so long - highly highly recommended to, well, everyone. Sadly, I've heard Robinson's other novels hardly live up to this one, but at least I can add one more to the favorites pile.
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Brenden O'Donnell I love this book, mama! Can't wait to hear what you think!

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