Great House: A Novel

Authors: Nicole Krauss
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Keywords: novel, house
Pages: 289
Published: 2011-09-06
Language: English
Category: Historical, Genre Fiction, Literature & Fiction,
ISBN-10: 0393340643     ISBN-13: 9780393340648
Binding: Paperback (Reprint)
List Price: 14.95 USD
  • Rating: 60%

"[An] elegiac novel . . . achieved through exquisitely chosen sensory details that reverberate with emotional intensity."-Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, The New York Times Book Review (front page)

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. "This is a novel about the long journey of a magnificent desk as it travels through the twentieth century from one owner to the next. It is also a novel about love, exile, the defilements of war, and the restorative power of language."—National Book Award citation

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