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The House of Special Purpose by John Boyne

The House of Special Purpose (original 2005; edition 2013)

by John Boyne

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4604322,586 (3.89)26
Title:The House of Special Purpose
Authors:John Boyne
Info:Other Press (2013), Paperback, 480 pages
Collections:Your library

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The House of Special Purpose by John Boyne (2005)



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» See also 26 mentions

English (23)  Dutch (10)  Spanish (6)  Catalan (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (41)
Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)

Normally I'm not a great novel reader, I usually read suspense books, but I'm a fan of John Boyne's Books! I really loved how he set once again a beautiful story in a beautiful background. You know what will happen to them, but still you find it worth reading and I was almost fearing the end, as if I could have changed anything. Which of course is nonsense, but it describes the way Boyne writes his stories. As if you are a part of it. Loved this story as well. Never knew a lot about the Romanovs, but I almost got the feeling that I do now! ( )
  Floratina | May 26, 2016 |
My favorite line: "I am a talisman for unhappiness...I have brought nothing but misery throughout my life for the people who loved me. Nothing but pain." - Zoya, p. 118

I enjoyed John Boyne's re-enactment and re-imagining of the final days of Nicholas and Alexandra as conveyed by Georgy Jachmenev, a Russian emigre in London telling his life's story. The story was engaging, well-constructed, rich in detail, and plausible. I particularly enjoyed the author's careful drawing of Tsar Nicholas and devilishly charismatic Father Gregory aka Rasputin.

For readers (like me!) who enjoy historical fiction and a good story, Boyne's book is fun and very approachable. While there is absolutely nothing junky about it, this book is engaging enough to make for a nice vacation read. ( )
  EpicTale | Apr 20, 2016 |
Featuring the original “Russian Forrest Gump” (or Форрест Гамп - I hope that is not too rude...) turning up over and over again at just the right time in just the right place to happen upon every major historical character from this period as they are making dramatic decisions that will change the course of history.
Deeply moving and frustratingly clichéd by turns, how does he do it?

I feel the author should stick to kids’ books: “the Boy in the Striped Pyjamas” is really quite wonderful. This unfortunately is not. ( )
  stevierbrown | Mar 22, 2016 |
I'll write a review eventually . . . ( )
  Jaina_Rose | Mar 1, 2016 |
I really enjoy books set in Russia at the turn of the twentieth century and this was quite a good read, but it certainly wasn't anywhere near the standard of "The boy in the striped pyjamas" written by the same author. ( )
  HeatherLINC | Jan 23, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
"Boyne re-creates both Georgy’s personal life and the life of pre-Revolutionary Russia with astonishing density and power."
added by SandSing7 | editKirkus Reviews (Jan 6, 2013)
Boyne writes with consummate ease, and is particularly good at drawing the indecently rich world of the pre-revolutionary Romanovs. But as the story lines multiplied and the flashbacks came rapidly, I found myself feeling a little put-upon, as if a manic railwayman was switching the points with demonic energy. The journey was ultimately worth it (if unashamedly fantastical), but a simpler route might have given the tale the enduring resonance that made The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas so unforgettable
"The House of Special Purpose is immediately riveting, mysterious, and tense with suspense. It is filled with heartlessness and insensitivity, but – at the same time – great love; it has pain, but incredible joy. The humanity of it will leave you crying at the end of the very first chapter."
added by SandSing7 | editKiller Nashville
"Irish writer John Boyne’s 'The House of Special Purpose' is a thrilling historical novel rooted in the Russian revolution and the end of Romanov czars."
added by SandSing7 | editStarTribune
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Voor Mark Herman, David Heyman & Rosie Alison, met dank
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Mijn vader en moeder hadden geen gelukkig huwelijk.
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Book description
De tachtigjarige Georgy Jachmenev woont in Engeland met zijn geliefde vrouw Zoya. Hun huwelijk is liefdevol, maar getekend door tragedie: het verlies van geliefden en de ervaringen van een leven in ballingschap. Als Zoya ernstig ziek wordt, maakt het paar zich op om nog eenmaal naar het Rusland van hun jeugd te reizen, het land dat hen heeft gemaakt en gebroken.

Georgy en Zoya nemen ons mee op een spannende, emotionele reis naar Sint Petersburg in het begin van de twintigste eeuw, naar het winterpaleis van de tsaar en zijn vrouw. Het was een tijd van verandering en dreiging, waarin ook een onverwachte, onmogelijke liefde opbloeide. Een liefde die leidde tot een gevaarlijke vlucht door het Europa van tussen de wereldoorlogen. Het winterpaleis is een meeslepend epos dat decennia en continenten omspant en de lezer ademloos achterlaat.

Translation of the above: 
The octogenarian Georgy Jachmenev lives in England with his beloved wife Zoya. Their marriage is loving, but signed by tragedy: the loss of loved ones and the experience of a life in exile. As Zoya is seriously ill, the couple is prepares to once again travel to the Russia of their youth, the country that has made and broken them.
Georgy and Zoya take us on an exciting, emotional journey to St Petersburg in the early twentieth century, to the Winter Palace of the Tsar and his wife. It was a time of change and threat in which an unexpected, impossible love flourished. A love that led to a dangerous flight through Europe between the world wars. The winter palace is a sweeping epic that spans decades and continents and the reader leaves you breathless.
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Part love story, part historical epic, part tragedy, The House of Special Purpose illuminates an empire at the end of its reign. Eighty-year-old Georgy Jachmenev is haunted by his past--a past of death, suffering, and scandal that will stay with him until the end of his days. Living in England with his beloved wife, Zoya, Georgy prepares to make one final journey back to the Russia he once knew and loved, the Russia that both destroyed and defined him. As Georgy remembers days gone by, we are transported to St. Petersburg, to the Winter Palace of the czar, in the early twentieth century--a time of change, threat, and bloody revolution. As Georgy overturns the most painful stone of all, we uncover the story of the house of special purpose.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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Average: (3.89)
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