Great House by Nicole Krauss
A Novel

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Ms. Krauss refuses to relieve her characters of this sense of anguish, and that can become oppressive. But if you bear through it, "Great House" is an eloquent dramatization of the need to find that missing piece that will give life its meaning.
-WSJ online

Synopsis

Finalist for the 2010 National Book Award in Fiction

Winner of the 2011 ABA Indies Choice Honor Award in Fiction

Winner of the 2011 Anisfield-Wolf Award

Shortlisted for the 2011 Orange Prize in Fiction



A powerful, soaring novel about a stolen desk that contains the secrets, and becomes the obsession, of the lives it passes through.


For twenty-five years, a reclusive American novelist has been writing at the desk she inherited from a young Chilean poet who disappeared at the hands of Pinochet’s secret police; one day a girl claiming to be the poet’s daughter arrives to take it away, sending the writer’s life reeling. Across the ocean, in the leafy suburbs of London, a man caring for his dying wife discovers, among her papers, a lock of hair that unravels a terrible secret. In Jerusalem, an antiques dealer slowly reassembles his father’s study, plundered by the Nazis in Budapest in 1944.



Connecting these stories is a desk of many drawers that exerts a power over those who possess it or have given it away. As the narrators of Great House make their confessions, the desk takes on more and more meaning, and comes finally to stand for all that has been taken from them, and all that binds them to what has disappeared. Great House is a story haunted by questions: What do we pass on to our children and how do they absorb our dreams and losses? How do we respond to disappearance, destruction, and change?



Nicole Krauss has written a soaring, powerful novel about memory struggling to create a meaningful permanence in the face of inevitable loss. "This is a novel about the long journey of a magnificent desk as it travels through the twentieth century from one owner to the next. It is also a novel about love, exile, the defilements of war, and the restorative power of language."—National Book Award citation
 

About Nicole Krauss

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Nicole Krauss has been hailed by the New York Times as "one of America's most important novelists." She is the author of the international bestseller Great House, a finalist for the National Book Award, and Man Walks Into a Room. Her books have been translated into more than thirty-five languages.
 
Published September 14, 2010 by W. W. Norton & Company. 304 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction
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WSJ online

Above average
Reviewed by Mr. Sacks on Oct 09 2010

Ms. Krauss refuses to relieve her characters of this sense of anguish, and that can become oppressive. But if you bear through it, "Great House" is an eloquent dramatization of the need to find that missing piece that will give life its meaning.

Read Full Review of Great House: A Novel | See more reviews from WSJ online

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