Thursday, January 20, 2011

Great House by Nicole Krauss

Great House is Nicole Krauss' highly anticipated 2010 novel.  Earlier in 2010, the New Yorker named Krauss as one of the New Yorker's top 20 writers under 40 (they also included her husband, Jonathan Safran Foer).  This book was a finalist for the 2010 National Book Award (the winner was Lord of Misrule). 

Krauss is a fantastic and powerful writer.  Her prose is nearly poetic.  At certain times, I found myself overpowered by her use of language and certain sections difficult to capture.  Maybe that was the point.

The book is a multivoiced narrative about loss.  There are four protagonists, who move seemlessly through time. Each character confronts loss (loss of a wife, a friend or a heritage and the Holocaust).  The voices are (mostly) linked to an object that moves through time and among the narrators.

What we learn from Krauss is that material objects are often displaced and difficult to reassemble.  However, ideas, knowledge, thoughts and belief can and do remain together.

This is not a page turner (nor is it intended to be).  Krauss demands work.  I enjoyed the book but it was not one of my favorites of the year.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder if we were supposed to find a connection among the characters beyond thematic loss. Was I wrong to feel disappointed that there was no great reveal? Or even a mini-reveal?