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Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson
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Housekeeping (1980)

by Marilynne Robinson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,1921671,411 (3.94)410
Housekeeping is the story of Ruth and her younger sister, Lucille, who grow up haphazardly, first under the care of their competent grandmother, then of two comically bumbling great-aunts, and finally of Sylvie, their eccentric and remote aunt. The family house is in the small Far West town of Fingerbone, set on a glacial lake, the same lake where their grandfather died in a spectacular train wreck, and their mother drove off a cliff to her death. It is a town "chastened by an outsized landscape and extravagant weather, and chastened again by an awareness that the whole of human history had occurred elsewhere." Ruth and Lucille's struggle toward adulthood beautifully illuminates the price of loss and survival, and the dangerous and deep undertow of transience.… (more)
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    A Student of Weather by Elizabeth Hay (Miels)
    Miels: Both are lyrical, heavily atmospheric novels. Both concern the relationship between a strange, bookish protagonist and her more sensible sister. In Robinson's book, it's an eccentric aunt who comes between them. In Hay's, it's a charming, seductive man. Both books are very much about love, loss, social ostracism, and ephemeral/elemental beauty.… (more)
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    So Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell (Jesse_wiedinmyer)
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» See also 410 mentions

English (162)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  Swedish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (166)
Showing 1-5 of 162 (next | show all)
can a book be too good? memorably shelved under

eccentrics and eccentricities-fiction
girls- ficiton
aunts- fiction

should also be shelved under dreams, memory, sisters, trains, ambiguous spaces, feral children and finding out you are a feral child when you are already grown, "women who run with the wolves," chapter long descriptions of lakes, sunsets and 'cherub-bellied' clouds that i never wanted to end. Beautiful, never precious, possibly the best. ( )
  uncleflannery | May 16, 2020 |
After reading Gilead a few years ago, I should've known to buy a copy of this before I started reading it. I wanted to underline the entire book. ( )
  jshttnbm | May 14, 2020 |
Housekeeping is a novel about intergenerational relationships, the outsider in society but most poignantly it is a novel about loneliness and loss. Robinson creates a moving and dense portrait of a familial and physical landscape. My favorite parts of the book are when the narrator descends to a register akin to biblical language to describe the lake that has claimed so many victims and the mountains surrounding the town of Fingerbone. The narrative loses energy and strength during Ruth's navel-gazing about her own social ineptitude but these bits are few and far between. This is an excellent novel and reminded me a whole lot, in terms of tone and landscape, of Denis Johnson's "Train Dreams." ( )
  b.masonjudy | Apr 3, 2020 |
Housekeeping is one of a handful of novels that I inhabit, more than I read. I go back to Housekeeping again and again, not just for its story, and not just for the way it literally takes my breath away--I mean it, this book makes me forget to breath sometimes, as I'm reading, because it's written so perfectly--but also for the way it makes me feel like I'm living another life, in another place, as I'm reading it.

Other books in this category for me, of making me feel like I'm living in them, rather than reading them from someplace outside of their pages: [b:The Magic Mountain|88077|The Magic Mountain|Thomas Mann|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1403170928l/88077._SY75_.jpg|647489], [b:Sense and Sensibility|14935|Sense and Sensibility|Jane Austen|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1397245675l/14935._SY75_.jpg|2809709], [b:Far From the Madding Crowd|31463|Far From the Madding Crowd|Thomas Hardy|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1388279695l/31463._SY75_.jpg|914540], [b:The Voyage Out|148905|The Voyage Out|Virginia Woolf|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1328874751l/148905._SY75_.jpg|1412170], [b:The Big Sky|202035|The Big Sky (The Big Sky, #1)|A.B. Guthrie Jr.|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1441429378l/202035._SY75_.jpg|1461085]. ( )
  poingu | Feb 22, 2020 |
Two sisters are left in the hands of older aunts, and then finally their mother's sister. ( )
  addunn3 | Jan 27, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 162 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robinson, MarilynneAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dielemans, WimTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vezzoli, DelfinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Epigraph
Dedication
For my husband,
and for James and Joseph, Jody and Joel,
four wonderful boys.
First words
My name is Ruth.
Quotations
Having a sister or a friend is like sitting at night in a lighted house. (p 154)
My grandmother['s]...eyes would roam over the goods she had accumulated unthinkingly and maintained out of habit as eagerly as if she had come to reclaim them. (p. 27)
Sylvie...considered accumulation to be the essence of housekeeping, and because she considered the hoarding of worthless things to be proof of a particularly scrupulous thrift. (p.180)
...fragments of the quotidian held up to our wondering attention, offered somehow as proof of their own significance (p73)
...leaves began to gather in the corners...Sylvie when she swept took care not to molest them. Perhaps she sensed a Delphic niceness in the scattering of these leaves and paper, here and not elsewhere.... (p.84-85)
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
réédité en français sous le titre "La Maison de Noé "
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Blurbers
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