Great House, Nicole Krauss

Nicole Krauss makes objects come to life

(November, 2010)

The stories that comprise the story of a desk, the interconnectedness, the longing, loss and pain are so palpable, so immense that only the desk itself could sort and carry it all. Furniture as character, imbued with life and living, physical and psychological characteristics — it works.

These are not “vignettes,” they are different aspects of the same stories told technically out of chronological order, but artistically told in exactly the right order like the thread of Ariadne, unraveling slowly, surely and completely.

Much is left unsaid/unresolved. Questions remain unanswered, but if you can enter the dream of this journey, everything is revealed. The writing is fresh and yet classically constructed. The allusions, ancient and new are guideposts; the characters are cut from one massive fabric of life and yet they are separate and whole. The story is not like a plot. It is a story of many people, many years and many artifacts. Will it change your life? Probably not. Will you laugh?

Probably not? Will you weep? Maybe, maybe not. You will recognize yourself and your own thoughts in some passages and you will find nothing of yourself in others. Is it a page-turner? Absolutely? At the end, does it all make sense? Most of it, and yet nothing is senseless or falsely placed. Not for everyone, not nearly as accessible as Krauss’ “The History of Love,” it is deeper and more challenging. Terrific.

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