Title: Great House
Author: Nicole Krauss
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company
Pub. Date: October 12, 2010
I'm sorry. I just didn't get this.
I was really looking forward to it because I loved The History of Love, and though I remember that being a somewhat difficult read that was rewarding in the end, this one was just too much. I did NOT like it.
Krauss tells four different stories that I suppose are to be tied together by this apparently magnificent, elusive desk of drawers. (Although I would like to own that desk, it really didn't have as much to do with the stories as I think it's been made out to be). I really just found a lot of this book pretentious. The first character is apparently talking to a judge. It's in second person (as is another of the four story lines) and she says "Your Honor". But you don't find out why until later and then it was anticlimactic. And I'm pretty sure I *got* it but I can't be 100% sure. And even though the rest of the connections were more obvious, they just meant nothing to me by the time I got to the end.
And can you say stream-of-consciousness?? The characters thoughts just went on and on and kept losing me. The sentences were long. There were no quotation marks separating dialogue. For a relatively short book (289 pages) the reading was tedious and felt like it was much longer. I felt early on that this wasn't the book for me but I pushed through with the thought that there had to be that big, impactful moment somewhere or maybe by the end, but I never saw it.
Of course, in the parts where Krauss's writing kept my attention, her wording was beautiful. And there were moments of insight that I found powerful enough; but it was difficult to appreciate it much because it was bogged down by so many other things. Those parts that I did understand, though, were extremely sad.
It disheartens me to say these things because though I've only read one of her other books, I really thought that one was fantastic. And hey, there are other readers out there who adored this book, and it was short listed for the National Book Award and is also currently short listed for the Indie Lit Awards.
But as for me... I feel a little upset at the hours I spent reading this one. =(