Beautifully quiet, quirky, heartbreaking, transcendent. There are so many reasons to love Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping. Above all for me: the sentences. Her language is so beautiful that it occurred to me one day, simply reading a description of two women looking flushed in the steam of cooking stock in a kitchen, that Robinson’s language made me want to try harder to find things to be joyful about in my day. Recommended By Gigi L., Powells.com
This gorgeous and heartbreaking novel RUINED me. Robinson's prose is deliberate and expansive, her characters vividly delineated, the world of her novel achingly familiar and yet full of astonishment. Recommended By Darla M., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
A modern classic, Housekeeping is the story of Ruth and her younger sister, Lucille, who grow up haphazardly, first under the care of their competent grandmother, then of two comically bumbling great-aunts, and finally of Sylvie, their eccentric and remote aunt. The family house is in the small Far West town of Fingerbone set on a glacial lake, the same lake where their grandfather died in a spectacular train wreck, and their mother drove off a cliff to her death. It is a town "chastened by an outsized landscape and extravagant weather, and chastened again by an awareness that the whole of human history had occurred elsewhere." Ruth and Lucille's struggle toward adulthood beautifully illuminates the price of loss and survival, and the dangerous and deep undertow of transience.
"Here's a first novel that sounds as if the author has been treasuring it up all her life...You can feel in the book a gathering voluptuous release of confidence, a delighted surprise at the unexpected capacities of language, a close, careful fondness for people that we thought only saints felt." Anatole Broyard, The New York Times
"I found myself reading slowly, then more slowly — this is not a novel to be hurried through, for every sentence is a delight." Doris Lessing
"The language is so precise, so distilled and so beautiful one does not want to miss any pleasure it might yield up to patience." Charles McGrath. The New York Times Books of the Century
About the Author
Marilynne Robinson is the author of the novel Gilead
and two books of nonfiction, Mother Country
and The Death of Adam
. She teaches at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop.