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Housekeeping (1980)

by Marilynne Robinson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,8041881,440 (3.94)430
An unabridged audio edition of this classic work on the 25th anniversary of its first publicationA modern classic, 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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1980s (188)
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English (183)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  Swedish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (187)
Showing 1-5 of 183 (next | show all)
Fingerbone. Egy városka, ahol semmi sincs. Illetve egyvalami van: a tó. Hosszan, némán nyúlik el a kátrányfekete vasúti híd alatt, ha pedig megunja a tétlenséget, felduzzad, és látogatást tesz Fingerbone-ban. Elönti a pincéket, sőt, a földszinten is csak gumicsizmában sütheted ilyenkor a szalonnás tojást. Ő az úr itt, aki áldozatokat követel magának, hol egy házat visz el, hol egy vonatszerelvényt szippant magába, hol egy autót. Itt él Ruth és Lucille, a két árva, nagyapjukat és anyjukat is a tó hívta magához. Nagynénjük, Sylvie érkezik pótanyának, de vele sem stimmel minden. Túl sokat néz a semmibe, mintha legszívesebben menne már valahová. A cipőjét a párna alá rakva alszik, ruhában, akár a csavargók. Talán mert csavargó.

Robinson regényének szereplői nők, az apák létét is csak logikailag tudjuk kikövetkeztetni abból, hogy valamiképp létre kellett hozniuk a lánygyermekeket. (Ezen kívül még a sheriff statisztál, de rajta kívül tényleg egy szem férfi sincs.) A konfliktus, mondhatni, karcsú, voltaképpen kimerül abban, hogy a lányok különbözőképpen reagálnak Sylvie sajátos hozzáállására, arra a szótlan elvágyódásra, ami meghatározza viselkedését a házban. Nagynénjükből hiányzik a stabilitásnak még az árnyéka is, úgy tesz-vesz, mint aki valójában ott sincs, vagy ott se kéne lennie. Ruth elfogadja ezt, belesimult a lakályos otthoni otthontalanságba, de Lucille valami konvencionálisra vágyik. Igazi családra, igazi kapcsolatokra, olyasmire, amihez odakötheti magát. Ha erre Sylvie nem alkalmas, akkor képes elmenni a szakításig is. És mi rohadtul nem tudjuk, kinek drukkoljunk. Lucille-nek, hogy sikerüljök kitörnie a normalitásba? Vagy Sylvie-nek, hogy egyben tudja tartani a családot? Nincs válasz.

Finom, mégis erős könyv, félmondatokkal is komplex érzelmi viszonyokat képes feltárni. A kulisszák (Fingerbone ábrázolása), a történet és a nyelv olyan szépen támaszkodnak egymásra, hogy az ember el se hiszi, ez egy pályakezdő író alkotása. Nekem továbbra is a Gilead-trilógia a favoritom, de ettől is le voltam nyűgözve. ( )
  Kuszma | Jul 2, 2022 |
...and the perished, whose lack we always feel, will step through the door finally and stroke our hair with dreaming, habitual fondness, not having meant to keep us waiting long.
Lush and spare at the same time, worth the patience required. ( )
  Venarain | Jan 10, 2022 |
I like this book. I've read it three times. The writing is beautiful . The impact of loss and longing is portrayed so well. I want to know more about those who were already gone -- Helen, the mother of Lucille and Ruthie, and Molly, the sister who left for China and never came back. But I can't know anything more because they are gone, and that's one way the author showed me how loss and longing relate.

There is so much to think about here. Sylvie, the aunt who looks after Ruthie and Lucille, has mental health issues. She is, however, functional (though maybe not equipped to raise young girls). Does she need to be cured? Would Ruthie have been better off being taken from Sylvie or would she have lost a connection to a kindred spirit who loved her? A very powerful book. ( )
  LynnB | Dec 21, 2021 |
A bit torn here. Yes, it is literature (capital L, please) and the writing is stunning, though some would say overdone in places. My issue is with the unrelenting bleakness of the landscape, both physical and mental. I think the book wants to be both a philosophical treatise and a novel and it didn't work for me at the very end when Robinson goes on for pages in a Biblical rant. ( )
  PattyLee | Dec 14, 2021 |
This is the type of book I want to read on a dark, melancholy evening, savoring the language and the story.

There were several times when the writing reminded me of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and his use of magical realism, but in reverse. Instead of having fantastical occurrences treated as everyday happenings, Robinson takes commonplace occurrences and imbues them with magical qualities ( )
  Annrosenzweig | Oct 15, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 183 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robinson, Marilynneprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dielemans, WimTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vezzoli, DelfinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
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Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
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 "
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

An unabridged audio edition of this classic work on the 25th anniversary of its first publicationA modern classic, 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.

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