Great House

By Nicole Krauss
(W. W. Norton & Company, Hardcover, 9780393079982, 289pp.)

Publication Date: October 2010

Other Editions of This Title: Paperback, Hardcover, Paperback, Paperback, Hardcover

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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the Summer 2012 Reading Group
“The best books haunt and sometimes confuse you. They will make you think, feel, wonder, go back to earlier chapters, and finally, fully experience the story being told. Nicole Krauss's new book does just that and more. This powerful novel contains multiple stories of loves lost, families torn apart, and secrets kept and revealed. The suffering of many in Nazi Germany, in Pinochet's Chile, and those seeking a new life in Israel are woven together by the narrative thread of a stolen desk. This is a powerful book that will leave you reeling.”
-- Ellen Burns, Books On The Common, Ridgefield, CT
Selected by Indie Booksellers for the October 2010 Indie Next List
“The best books haunt and sometimes confuse you. They will make you think, feel, wonder, go back to earlier chapters, and finally, fully experience the story being told. Nicole Krauss's new book does just that and more. This powerful novel contains multiple stories of loves lost, families torn apart, and secrets kept and revealed. The suffering of many in Nazi Germany, in Pinochet's Chile, and those seeking a new life in Israel are woven together by the narrative thread of a stolen desk. This is a powerful book that will leave you reeling.”
-- Ellen Burns, Books on the Common, Ridgefield, CT


Description
For twenty-five years, a reclusive American novelist has been writing at the desk she inherited from a young Chilean poet who disappeared at the hands of Pinochet 's secret police; one day a girl claiming to be the poet 's daughter arrives to take it away, sending the writer 's life reeling. Across the ocean, in the leafy suburbs of London, a man caring for his dying wife discovers, among her papers, a lock of hair that unravels a terrible secret. In Jerusalem, an antiques dealer slowly reassembles his father 's study, plundered by the Nazis in Budapest in 1944. Connecting these stories is a desk of many drawers that exerts a power over those who possess it or have given it away. As the narrators of Great House make their confessions, the desk takes on more and more meaning, and comes finally to stand for all that has been taken from them, and all that binds them to what has disappeared. Great House is a story haunted by questions: What do we pass on to our children and how do they absorb our dreams and losses? How do we respond to disappearance, destruction, and change? Nicole Krauss has written a soaring, powerful novel about memory struggling to create a meaningful permanence in the face of inevitable loss.



Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

  1. The large and imposing desk in the novel is passed from life to life, moving through space and time to link the characters in the novel to one another and to the past. What does this inheritance represent for each? Is it a burden?

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