Great House Free read ✓ 6

review Great House

Un giorno di inverno del un giovane poeta cileno lascia i suoi mobili tra cui una massiccia scrivania con diciannove cassetti a una scrittrice newyorchese Lui tornerà in Cile dove sparirà nelle carceri della dittatur. As I sit down to assess the past year with Rosh Hashanah fast approaching I decided to read a Jewish author who I have never read before Recently in one of the groups I am in here on Goodreads the Reading for Pleasure book group I took a turn holding the uill for the group s Pepys Project a diary detailing literary births deaths and happenings for each day The last day of my turn was August 18 the birthday of author Nicole Krauss With her new book Forest Dark due to hit shelves soon I felt that this was a way of telling me that I should experience the award winning author s works for myself Reading descriptions carefully I decided upon Great House a title evoking imagery of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem with a multi layered plot full of surprises along the wayFrom the novels first pages it was evident to me that Krauss is both a leading Jewish novelist and literary fiction writer today The book starts out where Nadia a writer perhaps meant to be Krauss herself is talking to a judge In a stream of consciousness monologue Nadia takes her readers down memory lane as she describes her life as a novelist over the last twenty five years While the story takes place in the present Nadia s entire existence is rooted with a chance meeting with Chilean poet named Daniel Varsky twenty six years before Although their affair was brief Varsky left Nadia his immense desk This desk which held than just sentimental value to Varsky becomes the focal point of Nadia s career as she sits there to write seven novels which become her livelihood It is during work on the eighth novel that Varsky s supposed daughter comes to ask for the desk back sending Nadia s life and career into a tailspinIn each section of the novel Krauss introduces another protagonist whose life has been impacted by this grand desk Originally the property of a prominent Jewish family in Hungary the desk had been plundered by the Nazis and underwent a journey across four continents until it reached its present destination in Nadia s apartment In a London suburb Arthur Berg cares for his wife Lotte who is dying of Alzheimer s Lotte had also been a writer and made the acuaintance of Varsky she was so taken by him that she gifted him her desk that had once been a gift from a previous lover Berg did not realize the impact of either the desk or of Varsky on Lotte s life until her disease had overtaken most of her memory Thus the desk underwent travels through historyEach protagonist is stronger than the other Krauss introduces her readers to an Israeli attorney named Aaron who is reeling from the death of his wife Rivka Aaron has to come to grips with his relationship with his adult son Dovik who had always been introverted and closer with his mother The family s relationship with the desk is not inherent from the start however Aaron s monologues describing Dovik s troubled childhood are among Krauss most poignant passages in the novel I can only help feelin for Dovik as he lived with the trauma growing up with a father who did not understand him and was much closer to his rival siblingFinally the plot comes together with the introduction of Weisz a furniture dealer who has rescued countless pieces of antiues pilfered by the Nazis from places around the globe and his children Yoav and Leah Like the other characters in the novel the triumvirate has a deeply personal relationship with the desk however as the family originally comes from eastern Europe it becomes apparent that their history with this piece may be greater than that of the other characters Even though each piece of plot moves slowly Krauss use of prose is exuisite and a joy to read I could not help but reading uickly through this gem to find out the origins of the desk and who its rightful owner is With emotions riding high as to the ownership the second half of the novel moved faster than the firstToward the end of the novel Weisz delivers a poignant monologue explaining the novel s title In the words of biblical scholar Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai he explains that to Bend a people around the shape of what they lost and let everything mirror its absent form Later his school became known as the Great House after the phrase in Books of Kings He burned the house of G d the king s house and all houses of Jerusalem even every great house he burned with fire So close to the new year I appreciate Krauss use of biblical anecdotes to the Jewish people as people of the book I thoroughly enjoyed this intricately woven novel of memories a web of human emotions and strong prose I am sure that Great House will not be the last of her novels that I read as I rate this gem of a book 45 stars

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Great House

A di Pinochet Un giorno a venticinue anni di distanza dall'accaduto una ragazza forse la figlia del poeta rivendica la scrivania Da ui parte una miriade di racconti che si intreccinao tra loro e che ruotano intorno all. I m a genre guy than a literature reader but I ve been trying to branch out lately I m glad I did because I ve read some amazing things that I probably wouldn t have tried otherwise However it only takes one book like this send me running back to the mystery or sci fi section for comfort It wasn t bad but it s just working so damn hard to be an important book that it really isn t much fun to read And maybe all books shouldn t be fun but they really shouldn t feel like this much work eitherThe book begins in the early 1970s in New York with a writer named Nadia losing all her furniture due to a break up with a boyfriend A mutual friend steers Nadia to Daniel Varsky a young Chilean poet who is getting ready to leave New York and has an apartment full of furniture he wants to loan out until he returns The most impressive item is a large desk Nadia takes the furniture and later hears that Daniel was tortured and killed in Chile during Pinochet s brutal rule of the countryYears pass and the one constant in Nadia s life is the desk However when a young woman claiming to be Daniel s daughter from a fling he had in Israel shows up Nadia immediately relinuishes the desk to her but soon regrets itSeveral other stories are told in parallel to Nadia s An Israeli man mourning the death of his wife pours his heart out in a story to the son he never understood The husband of a British writer discovers a shocking secret about his wife after her death and a young woman reflects on her love for a man who had an odd relationship with his sister and their father who is trying to recreate the study of his childhood home that was lost in the Holocaust Eventually the links between all of the stories emergeKrauss is one of those writers who impresses me technically but leaves me a bit cold despite writing something that was obviously going for the heart A big part of my problem is that that four of the characters are almost exactly the same Nadia the British writer the young woman in love and the Israeli son are introverted types who live their lives mainly through books and words to the point of ignoring everything else I especially found Nadia tiresome because this is a woman with every advantage who deliberately chooses her writing career over relationships yet whines about her own nature constantly It s hard to feel too sympathetic for someone who cut themselves off of their own free will and yet who is so fragile that the loss of a desk will plunge them into a depressive bout of writer s blockThe plot comes together in a nice web of cause and effect but overall this book felt like getting stuck in a conversation with someone who obviously wants to be doing something else but then proceeds to tell you about everything they ve talked about with their psychiatrist

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A scrivani dove l'importante non è la trama ma l'oggetto in apparenza inanimato in realtà custode di memorie dolori lutti e desideri A unire uesti frammenti la scrivania dei diciannove cassetti e le emozioni estreme.. How to Extract EmpathyKrauss is a mistress of extracted empathy She can drag it out of you even when you fight it particularly empathy for writers for Nadia a writer prevented by success from writing what she ought for Dov an Israeli prevented by apparent paternal sadism from becoming a writer at all for Lotte an Holocaust traumatised emigre writer who reportedly goes skinny dipping every day on Hampstead Heath for Isabel a failed Oxford student presumably a writer if only of essays who makes some bizarre personal decisions Their stories touch each other just enough to amplify the empathy one feels for eachIt intrigues me how she does this The fundamental theme is one of alienation from loved ones from family from the world from oneself as described by four narrators But the variations on this theme overlay each other to absorb the reader into the desperation of each How are they connected Are the stories about the teller or the one told about Is the central theme the awkwardness of living with authors even with oneself as an author Or is the real story that of people coping with emotions buried so deeply that they can only be alluded to and discovered in a sort of psychoanalytic process carried out in printThe literary devices in Great House are as complex as the variations on the basic theme The thin thread of a piece of furniture is used to keep the parts together But there are numerous recurring tropes The collapse and inversion of time over decades the random interjection of discontinuous events the phrase after what happened without explanation used unexpectedly to ueue up a later revelation narrative characters and narrators left unidentified for extended periods the teasingly repeated denial of expected resolutions open family secrets never discussed the homecoming after years of absence and withal the withholding of any suggestion of purpose until the end The effect is one of not just suspense but an experience of a pressing need to know how the characters survive if indeed they doSo a complex challenging and rewarding work by a pro Can t ask for much

10 thoughts on “Great House

  1. says:

    So I say again writing a book of short stories fitting them together Tetris like and calling it a novel DOES NOT MAKE YOUR BOOK A NOVEL Also telling your publisher to put a novel on the cover after the title DOES NOT MAKE YOUR BOOK A NOVEL If you write a collection of short stories IT IS OK TO CALL IT A COLLECTION OF SHORT STORIES Because yo

  2. says:

    As I sit down to assess the past year with Rosh Hashanah fast approaching I decided to read a Jewish author who I have never read before Recently in one of the groups I am in here on Goodreads the Reading for Pleasure book group I took a turn holding the uill for the group's Pepys Project a diary detailing literary birt

  3. says:

    How Did She Do What She Just Did?I looked forward to reading this novel for several years was apprehensive in the first couple of chapters persisted got my bearings then in the second half grew confident that it would blow my mind which it didThe novel makes demands on you you have to exert yourself but the rewards are enormous and profoundAs at the time of writing this review if I can call it that I finished

  4. says:

    I’m surprised this was written after History of Love because for me though perhaps grown up it’s less accomplished The design is brilliant but let down by the execution There are four first person narratives all of them Jewish The Holoca

  5. says:

    After reading The History of Love I promised myself to read something else by Nicole Krauss when I had the chance I found Great House at a local thrift store for 1 and it was one of the best dollars I ever spent There are s

  6. says:

    I’m a genre guy than a literature reader but I’ve been trying to branch out lately I’m glad I did because I’ve read some amazing things that I probably wouldn’t have tried otherwise However it only takes one book like this send me running back to the mystery or sci fi section for comfort It wasn’t bad but it’s just wo

  7. says:

    How to Extract EmpathyKrauss is a mistress of extracted empathy She can drag it out of you even when you fight it particularly empathy for writers for Nadia a writer prevented by success from writing what she ought; for Dov an Israeli prevented

  8. says:

    This is the worst book I've read in years The narratives are incredibly disjointed and confusing None of the characters is interesting enough to warrant the energy reuired of the reader to piece together their stories in a meaningful way The writing itself is trite and one gets the feeling that one has read similar stori

  9. says:

    A common criticism of this book is that it’s like four short stories than a novel It’s true the four narratives with a little tinkering could stand alone as brilliant inspired stories There’s a suspicion too that Nicole Krauss h

  10. says:

    This book is not about a house great or minute It’s about aview spoilerdesk hide spoiler