Infinite Home: Book summary and reviews of Infinite Home by Kathleen Alcott

Infinite Home

by Kathleen Alcott

Infinite Home by Kathleen Alcott X
Infinite Home by Kathleen Alcott
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  • Published in USA  Aug 2015
    336 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

Edith is a widowed landlady who rents apartments in her Brooklyn brownstone to an unlikely collection of humans, all deeply in need of shelter. Crippled in various ways - in spirit, in mind, in body, in heart - the renters struggle to navigate daily existence, and soon come to realize that Edith's deteriorating mind, and the menacing presence of her estranged, unscrupulous son, Owen, is the greatest challenge they must confront together.

Faced with eviction by Owen and his designs on the building, the tenants - Paulie, an unusually disabled man and his burdened sister, Claudia; Edward, a misanthropic stand-up comic; Adeleine, a beautiful agoraphobe; Thomas, a young artist recovering from a stroke - must find in one another what the world has not yet offered or has taken from them: family, respite, security, worth, love.

The threat to their home scatters them far from where they've begun, to an ascetic commune in Northern California, the motel rooms of depressed middle America, and a stunning natural phenomenon in Tennessee, endangering their lives and their visions of themselves along the way.

With humanity, humor, grace, and striking prose, Kathleen Alcott portrays these unforgettable characters in their search for connection, for a life worth living, for home.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Quietly wonderful... Alcott displays a deft hand with every one of her odd and startingly real characters...The voices in this book speak volumes. A luminous second novel from a first-class storyteller." - Kirkus

"The writing is dreamy and easy to inhabit, but is occasionally undermined by its tendency toward abstraction, when it would benefit more from precise plot development. Nevertheless, Alcott's writing is generous, and her peculiar cast of characters memorable." - Publishers Weekly

"Alcott reveals stories of each character through staccato pacing that builds from whimsy to woe to redemption through the course of a delectably subtle yet sublimely fierce study of many forms of bravery and loyalty." - Booklist

"A stunningly sensitive exploration of how families are made and unmade, and how the search for one's place in the world can come to define a life. Kathleen Alcott writes characters so achingly real, they will take up permanent residence in your imagination." - Laura van den Berg, author of The Isle of Youth and Find Me

"Infinite Home is Kathleen Alcott at her lyrical best. In her arresting new novel, she explores the boundaries of family and fraternity, with a Brooklyn brownstone as the nexus of the occupants' interlocking worlds." - Nathan Englander

"Kathleen Alcott is part sculptor and part fire-breather - not only are these characters intricately carved but they stand up, walk right off the page and beckon us into a story that is both vivid and welcoming." - Ramona Ausubel, author of No One is Here Except All of Usand A Guide to Being Born

"Vibrant, inventive, expansive. Kathleen Alcott has peered through the walls of an everyday apartment building and transformed the private lives of its tenants into pure poetry." - Said Sayrafiezadeh, author of Brief Encounters with the Enemy

"Starting with the first page of Infinite Home, you will feel it: something different, something brave, and something fundamentally amazing about Kathleen Alcott's power over the English language. Every yearning character in this breakout novel is flesh and blood. Alcott's roving heart, and power as a storyteller, may very well be limitless." - Patrick Somerville, author of This Bright River

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Reader Reviews

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Diane S.

Infinite Home
For years, Edith has offered a home in her Brooklyn Brownstone, a building that her now dead husband, Declan, had bought for them after they were married. Their daughter left home for Haight Ashbury he seventies and hasn't been seen again, their son, the villain of the piece only wants what he feels he is owed. Tenants came and went, until the last several years when the group of residents have stayed the same. A disparate group of people, all seeking a shelter from their lives, a group of wonderful people with problems of their own. Edith now provided shelter and succor to this group of people with very real needs. Until Edith has problems of her own, memory loss and dementia.

It is the people in this novel that draws one in and grab hold , not to let go until the very end. I came to know and love all these characters as if they were actual people in my very real life. So wanted things to work out for them.

Poignant, yet at times humorous, amazing writing, this novel slowly sneaks up on the reader. A novel of families, the ones we make and the ones that are given us. Friendship, putting everything on the line to help other people. Home and what the term really means. Sometimes the home and family doesn't come to us, we must go and find it. A big sigh at the end of this book, I am so very glad to have met these characters. Unforgettable.

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Kathleen Alcott is the author of the novel The Dangers of Proximal Alphabets, which was translated into several languages. Her fiction, criticism, and essays appear in publications including The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Coffin Factory, The Rumpus, ZYZZYVA, and elsewhere. Born in Northern California, she currently resides in Brooklyn.

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