Monday, February 21, 2011

Nicole Krauss: Great House

This wins the award for "least talked about book at book club." 
Which sucks because I did want to talk about it--because I disliked it so much. I wanted to hear from those who did like it.  But there were other things to talk about and maybe next month's book will be more conversation-inducing.  :)

On to the book.

As I read in one review putting a bunch of short stories in a thick text, doesn't make a novel...And as some of my book club ladies pointed out--Krauss spells out E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. for the reader, rather than allowing readers and readers' intelligences to make some connections and ideas for themselves. 

This book is 8 total chapters.  Each story connects to the others, but the connection is revealed so painfully slowly that it isn't worth the effort getting to the connection.  For example, the first narrator's name isn't even revealed until page 38.  Her name isn't that important, but still...I have a hard time caring about a character whose name I am not even aware of.  This initial irritation led to more and more bitterness during my reading--especially with pages upon pages of meaningless blather and name-dropping of locations-- like Krauss thinks she is so much better than everyone because she knows all these foreign locations and connections to them.
It was annoying.  The book was annoying.  The best parts included connections to the Jewish faith and the unspeaking father who desperately needs a relationship with his estranged son.  Even though his son's estrangement is never fully explained in a satisfying way.  Much like the entire book.


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