Reviews of Great House by Nicole Krauss

Great House

A Novel

by Nicole Krauss

Great House by Nicole Krauss X
Great House by Nicole Krauss
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Oct 2010, 289 pages

    Paperback:
    Sep 2011, 289 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

Nicole Krauss has written a soaring, powerful novel about memory struggling to create a meaningful permanence in the face of inevitable loss.

For twenty-five years, a reclusive American novelist has been writing at the desk she inherited from a young Chilean poet who disappeared at the hands of Pinochet's secret police; one day a girl claiming to be the poet's daughter arrives to take it away, sending the writer's life reeling. Across the ocean, in the leafy suburbs of London, a man caring for his dying wife discovers, among her papers, a lock of hair that unravels a terrible secret. In Jerusalem, an antiques dealer slowly reassembles his father's study, plundered by the Nazis in Budapest in 1944.

Connecting these stories is a desk of many drawers that exerts a power over those who possess it or have given it away. As the narrators of Great House make their confessions, the desk takes on more and more meaning, and comes finally to stand for all that has been taken from them, and all that binds them to what has disappeared.

Great House is a story haunted by questions: What do we pass on to our children and how do they absorb our dreams and losses? How do we respond to disappearance, destruction, and change?

Nicole Krauss has written a soaring, powerful novel about memory struggling to create a meaningful permanence in the face of inevitable loss.

ALL RISE
Talk to him.

Your Honor, in the winter of 1972 R and I broke up, or I should say he broke up with me. His reasons were vague, but the gist was that he had a secret self, a cowardly, despicable self he could never show me, and that he needed to go away like a sick animal until he could improve this self and bring it up to a standard he judged deserving of company. I argued with him - I'd been his girlfriend for almost two years, his secrets were my secrets, if there was something cruel or cowardly in him I of all people would know - but it was useless. Three weeks after he'd moved out I got a postcard from him (without a return address) saying that he felt our decision, as he called it, hard as it was, had been the right one, and I had to admit to myself that our relationship was over for good.

Things got worse then for a while before they got better. I won't go into it except to say that I didn't go out, not even to see my grandmother, and I didn't let anyone...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for 12 months or $12 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

One of the best things about being a BookBrowse book critic is gaining advance notice that a favorite author has written a new book. Which is why, as soon as I learned that Nicole Krauss had a new novel slated for release, I jumped at the opportunity to review it. I have been a fan for a while and couldn't wait to read her latest. She did not disappoint. Great House possesses the same inventive, graceful prose that she's known for...continued

Full Review (548 words).

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.

(Reviewed by Donna Chavez).

Media Reviews

Booklist
Starred Review: Krauss’ masterful rendition of character is breathtaking, compelling.... This tour de force of fiction writing will deeply satisfy fans of the author’s first two books and bring her legions more.

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. This stunning work showcases Krauss's consistent talent.... Much like in Krauss's The History of Love, the sharply etched characters seem at first arbitrarily linked across time and space, but Krauss pulls together the disparate elements, settings, characters, and fragile connective tissue to form a formidable and haunting mosaic of loss and profound sorrow.

Kirkus Reviews
Brainy and often lyrically expressive, but also elusive and sometimes infuriatingly coy; Krauss is an acquired taste.

Library Journal
[M]editative, insightful prose that makes for an intense and memorable reading experience.

Reader Reviews

Kris

The Empty Desk
I am sad to report that I truly believe this book had the best of intentions to be a wonderful novel. Without question, the idea of a desk and it's symbolic power to a writer is very interesting and captivating. Unfortunately, I believe the book ...   Read More
Elizabeth

Not the good book I was expecting
An empty apartment, a friend who has furniture to give away, and now a furniture-filled apartment with lots of stories and a wonderful desk. Then....after twenty-five years, the desk that she loved was being claimed by a relative of its original ...   Read More

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for 12 months or $12 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

Everyday Magic in The History of Love

Although Nicole Krauss's three books to date would not be classified as magical realism (a style, according to Wikipedia, wherein, "normal occurrences… are presented in a straightforward manner, which allows the 'real' and the 'fantastic' to be accepted in the same stream of thought") there is in her books an element of the magic that exists in everyday life. These occurrences are no less magical for being easily written off as coincidence, or ascribed to déjà vu or the smallness of the planet.

For example, in The History of Love (2005), Krauss's second novel after Man Walks Into a Room (2002), Leo Gursky, a young Polish man fell in love with a beautiful woman named Alma in the late 1930s. He was so enraptured by her that ...

This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for 12 months or $12 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Read-alikes Full readalike results are for members only

More books by Nicole Krauss

If you liked Great House, try these:

  • Housebreaking jacket

    Housebreaking

    by Colleen Hubbard

    Published 2022

    About this book

    Following a long-standing feud and looking to settle the score, a woman decides to dismantle her home—alone and by hand—and move it across a frozen pond during a harsh New England winter in this mesmerizing debut.

  • Forest Dark jacket

    Forest Dark

    by Nicole Krauss

    Published 2018

    About this book

    More by this author

    Bursting with life and humor, Forest Dark is a profound, mesmerizing novel of metamorphosis and self-realization—of looking beyond all that is visible towards the infinite.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search read-alikes again
How we choose readalikes

Books with similar themes


Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for 12 months or $12 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Atomic Anna
    Atomic Anna
    by Rachel Barenbaum
    If you had the opportunity to prevent one of the world's most horrific disasters, would you? What if...
  • Book Jacket: The Colony
    The Colony
    by Audrey Magee
    The Colony opens with Mr Lloyd, a London artist, being transported to a Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking) ...
  • Book Jacket: The Return of Faraz Ali
    The Return of Faraz Ali
    by Aamina Ahmad
    In Aamina Ahmad's debut, The Return of Faraz Ali, the eponymous character is a police inspector in ...
  • Book Jacket: The Wonders
    The Wonders
    by Elena Medel
    Spanish poet Elena Medel's debut novel The Wonders (translated by Lizzie Davis and Thomas Bunstead) ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
The Book Woman's Daughter
by Kim Michele Richardson
A mesmerizing and beautifully rendered tale of strong women, bravery, and resilience.

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Immortal King Rao
    by Vauhini Vara

    A resonant debut novel obliterating the boundaries between literary and speculative fiction, the historic and the dystopian.

  • Book Jacket

    Metropolis
    by B. A. Shapiro

    "An ingeniously plotted hybrid social/suspense novel. Shapiro hits it out of the park."
    Shelf Awareness

Who Said...

Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

T S's T Limit

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.