Great House (novel)

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Great House
GreatHouse.jpg
First edition
Author Nicole Krauss
Country United States
Language English
Publisher W.W. Norton & Company
Publication date
October 12, 2010
Media type Print (Paperback) and E-Book
Pages 289 pg (paperback)
ISBN 978-0-393-07998-2

Great House is the third novel by the American writer Nicole Krauss, published on October 12, 2010 by W. W. Norton & Company. Early versions of the first chapter were published in Harper's ("From the Desk of Daniel Varsky", 2007),[1][1] Best American Short Stories 2008, and The New Yorker ("The Young Painters", June 2010). Great House was a finalist for the 2010 National Book Award in Fiction.

Book description[edit]

For 25 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.

Linking these stories is a desk of many drawers that exerts a power over those who possess it or have given it away.

The book's title, Great House, is the name by which the yeshiva in Yavne, founded by the first-century rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai, became known after his death. Its source is this passage from the Bible, in the Second Book of Kings, chapter 25, verse 9: "He burned the house of God, the king's house, and all the houses of Jerusalem; even every great house he burned with fire."

Dedication[edit]

The book is dedicated to Krauss's two children, both boys.[2]

Reception[edit]

Great House has received very positive reviews from critics. Patrick Ness of The Guardian described the book as "subtle and fractured, almost demanding a second reading to put all the pieces together. Mainly, though, Great House is a meditation on loss and memory and how they construct our lives...Great House is a smart, serious, sharply written novel of great care and yearning."[3] Rebecca Newberger Goldstein of The New York Times described the book as "a high-wire performance, only the wire has been replaced by an exposed inuit nerve, and you hold your breath, and she does not fall."[4] Janet Byrne of Huffington Post stated "It's a daunting undertaking, one that not every writer under 40 would choose or can do justice to, but Krauss's talent runs deep. And she cannot write a bad sentence: pound for pound, the sentences alone deliver epiphany upon epiphany."[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "From the Desk of Daniel Varsky:eNotes Synopsis". eNotes. Retrieved November 5, 2011. 
  2. ^ Stewart Kampel (August 2012). "A Talk with Author Nicole Krauss". Hadassah Magazine. Retrieved 22 August 2012. 
  3. ^ Patrick Ness (February 19, 2011) "Great House by Nicole Krauss – review", The Guardian. Retrieved December 5, 2012.
  4. ^ Rebecca Newberger Goldstein (October 14, 2010), "Hearts Full of Sorrow", The New York Times. Retrieved December 5, 2012.
  5. ^ Janet Byrne (April 10, 2010) "Nicole Krauss's 'Great House' Reviewed", Huffington Post. Retrieved December 5, 2012.

External links[edit]