Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Great House by Nicole Krauss

I finished this book a couple of weeks ago, one of the finalists for the National Book Award for 2010. I've waited to review it for a bit so I could mull it around in my head.

There are heavy themes here, of loss, obsession, and also how they relate to Jewish history and identity. This is far more delicately handled by Krauss than by Howard Jacobson in The Finkler Question, where the characters are always informing each other that they are thinking about their Jewish identity.

When it comes down to it, most of the stories center around a desk and interweaving versions of loneliness. This is also handled in a subtle way, and in some cases the desk doesn't even show up for a while. It varies in importance, and she crafts interesting characters with unusual tendencies. I was actually sad to reach the end because I was reluctant to let the stories go.

"In life we sit at the table and refuse to eat, and in death we are eternally hungry."

I would give this one 5/5 stars, and recommend reading it.

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