The Big House by George Howe Colt
A Century in the Life of an American Summer Home

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 1 Critic Review



In this intimate and poignant history of a sprawling century-old summer house on Cape Cod, George Howe Colt reveals not just one family's fascinating story but a vanishing way of life. Faced with the sale of the treasured house where he had spent forty-two summers, Colt returned for one last August with his wife and young children. The Big House, the author's loving tribute to his one-of-a-kind family home, interweaves glimpses of that elegiac final visit with memories of earlier summers spent at the house and of the equally idiosyncratic people who lived there over the course of five generations.

Built by Colt's great-grandfather one hundred years ago on a deserted Cape Cod peninsula, the house is a local landmark (neighboring children know it as the Ghost House): a four-story, eleven-bedroom jumble of gables, bays, sloped roofs, and dormers. The emotional home of the Colt family, the Big House has watched over five weddings, four divorces, and three deaths, along with countless anniversaries, birthday parties, nervous breakdowns, and love affairs. Beaten by wind and rain, insulated by seaweed, it is both romantic and run-down, a symbol of the faded glory of the Boston Brahmin aristocracy.

With a mixture of amusement and affection, Colt traces the rise and fall of this tragicomic social class while memorably capturing the essence of summer's ephemeral pleasures: sailing, tennis, fishing, rainy-day reading. Time seems to stand still in a summer house, and for the Colts the Big House always seemed an unchanging place in a changing world. But summer draws to a close, and the family must eventually say good-bye.

Elegant and evocative, The Big House is both magical and sad, a gift to anyone who holds cherished memories of summer.

About George Howe Colt

See more books from this Author
George Howe Colt is the bestselling author of The Big House, which was a National Book Award finalist and a New York Times notable book of the year, and November of the Soul: The Enigma of Suicide. He lives in Western Massachusetts with his wife, Anne Fadiman, and their two children.
Published August 7, 2012 by Scribner. 336 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Crafts, Hobbies & Home, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Big House

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

The epicenter of the Colt family is the Big House, built in 1903 on Wings Neck, a deserted strip of Cape Cod.

| Read Full Review of The Big House: A Century in t...

Reader Rating for The Big House

An aggregated and normalized score based on 200 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review