December 14, 2010
I read The History of Love for a women's literature class in college and loved it. The intricate storytelling, the colorful characters, and the lingering power of the story after the last page had been turned. So I was thrilled to check a bright and shiny new copy of Nicole Krauss' latest book, Great House, out of the library.
Having just finished the novel, I am left with a sense of awe over the magnitude of the story that unravelled over the course of about 300 pages. Krauss writes like a modern Tolstoy -- vibrant characters acting in a plot that is rich with didactic moments. The book is divided into a series of vignettes, each given two sections that are dispersed across the novel. The story traces the history of a great wooden writing desk with many drawers from owner to owner, stringing with it the story of a young Chilean man with mysterious origins.
You meet a struggling female writer, a brother and sister with a different sort of relationship, a man struggling with his writer wife's Alzheimer's, an Israeli man coping with his wife's death and son's return from abroad. All of these stories connect in such an intriguing way that was in no way predictable - at least through my intelligence.
Rife with memorable lines and literary moments, Great House is a stunning story that is worth your time indeed.
Image found here.