Great House (Hardcover)
W. W. Norton & Company, 9780393079982, 304pp.
Publication Date: October 12, 2010
Other Editions of This Title:
Compact Disc (10/12/2010)
Compact Disc (1/1/2010)
Hardcover, Large Print, Large Print (1/1/2011)
October 2010 Indie Next List
— Ellen Burns, Books on the Common, Ridgefield, CT
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Summer 2012 Reading Group
— Ellen Burns, Books On The Common, Ridgefield, CT
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Finalist for the 2010 National Book Award in Fiction
Winner of the 2011 ABA Indies Choice Honor Award in Fiction
Winner of the 2011 Anisfield-Wolf Award
Shortlisted for the 2011 Orange Prize in Fiction
A powerful, soaring novel about a stolen desk that contains the secrets, and becomes the obsession, of the lives it passes through.
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.
About the Author
Praise For Great House: A Novel…
[An] elegiac novel…achieved through exquisitely chosen sensory details that reverberate with emotional intensity. Here [Krauss] gives us her tragic vision pure. It is a high-wire performance, only the wire has been replaced by an exposed nerve, and you hold your breath, and she does not fall.
— Rebecca Newberger Goldstein
[Krauss] writes of her characters’ despair with striking lucidity…an eloquent dramatization of the need to find that missing piece that will give life its meaning.
— Sam Sacks
While her prior, much-vaunted novel, The History of Love, was certainly fresh and winning, Great House strikes me as a richer, more seasoned exploration of the themes and images that bedevil Krauss… Krauss’ sentences are so beautiful, rendered in such simple, clear language, I had to stop to reread many.
— Joan Frank
[The characters’] stunningly distinct and lively voices hold us captive to their versions of their lives. Krauss, who began her career as a poet, can do just about anything with the English language.
— Ann Harleman
Krauss herself is a fiction pioneer, toying with fresh ways of rendering experience and emotion, giving us readers the thrill of seeing the novel stretched into amorphous new shapes.
— Maureen Corrigan
The most heartbreaking part of Great House, the third novel by Nicole Krauss, is having to finish it…As the mysteries of this beautifully written novel come spooling out, you’ll marvel at how profoundly one brilliantly crafted metaphor involving a mute wooden artifact can remind us what it means to be alive.
— Rachel Rosenblit
A novel brimming with insights into the human psyche…often haunting and ultimately rewarding.
— Monica Rhor
Krauss’ organic scenes soar, she is stunning.
— Karen R. Long
Surely if there is one book each author is meant to write, then there might also be one book each reader is meant to read. For plenty of fans out there, Great House just might be that book.
Exquisite…Krauss is a poetic stylist whose prose gives tremendous weight to her characters’ pain and struggles.
— Sharon Dilworth
A complex, richly imagined new novel… Krauss’s talent runs deep. And she cannot write a bad sentence: pound for pound, the sentences alone deliver epiphany upon epiphany.
— Janet Byrne
Krauss has a unique way of assembling novels—baroque, complex, and with stunning tidiness that isn’t clear until the very last page. All the parts do fit together in the end. The shape they form is the ghastly Great House, and its walls are ideas that leave the reader reverberating.
— Jennie Rothenberg Gritz
Artlessly lovely… the pleasure of reading this book is in its details, its intimation of sincerity, its quiet wisdom.
— Yevgeniya Traps
[A] brave new novel…[Krauss] has written one of the most lyrical novels I’ve read in a long time.
— Mike Fischer
With grace and originality, Krauss writes of loss and many kinds of loneliness, the connections between memory and objects, between memory and identity, and about uncertainty.
— Sandee Brawarsky
Steeped in place and memory, Great House is a worthy successor to Krauss’ earlier works, more complex and more challenging.
— Robin Vidimos
…I was captivated by the first chapter, and never disappointed thereafter as the various voices chimed in and the intricate connections began to connect. Perhaps it has a special resonance for writers (the two "All Rise" sections in particular, were utterly devastating)—but at the same time I feel sure all kinds of readers will respond to it.... The richness of invention, the beauty of the prose, the aptness of her central images (oh, the desk!), the depth of feeling: who would not be moved?
— Andrea Barrett, author of Ship Fever
Krauss’ third novel…is perhaps even more indicative [than The History of Love] of her ability to weave intricate storylines, craft emotionally layered characters and expertly draw out the pain, difficulty, and extreme complexity of human relationships.
— Juliet Linderman