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Great House
Cover of Great House
Great House
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During the winter of 1972, a woman spends a single night with a young Chilean poet before he departs New York, leaving her his desk. It is the only time they ever meet. Two years later, he is arrested by Pinochet's secret police and never seen again. Across the ocean, in the leafy suburbs of London, a man caring for his dying wife discovers a lock of hair among her papers that unravels a terrible secret. In Jerusalem, an antiques dealer has spent a lifetime reassembling his father's study, plundered by the Nazis from Budapest in 1944; now only one item remains to be found. Connecting these lives is a desk of many drawers that exerts a power over those who possess it or give it away. And as the narrators of Great House make their confessions, this desk 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.

During the winter of 1972, a woman spends a single night with a young Chilean poet before he departs New York, leaving her his desk. It is the only time they ever meet. Two years later, he is arrested by Pinochet's secret police and never seen again. Across the ocean, in the leafy suburbs of London, a man caring for his dying wife discovers a lock of hair among her papers that unravels a terrible secret. In Jerusalem, an antiques dealer has spent a lifetime reassembling his father's study, plundered by the Nazis from Budapest in 1944; now only one item remains to be found. Connecting these lives is a desk of many drawers that exerts a power over those who possess it or give it away. And as the narrators of Great House make their confessions, this desk 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.

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Awards-
About the Author-
  • Nicole Krauss was born in New York in 1974. Her first novel Man Walks into a Room, to be published by Penguin in 2006, was shortlisted for the LA Times Book Award. She lives in Brooklyn.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from December 20, 2010
    A writing desk serves as Krauss's literary device to connect five striking vignettes. So, too, are the characters emotionally linked through lives that involve writing and reading, love overshadowed by loss, and connection outweighed by isolation. The book is narrated at a stately pace—which will be appreciated by the serious listener who might wish to stop the audio to write down a line or two—by Robert Ian MacKenzie (narrator of McCall Smith's 44 Scotland Street series) who demonstrates that he can do wonders with material he can sink his teeth into. His performance as a British professor married to a reclusive writer is a marvel, and Alma Cuervo's evocation of a lonely author haunted by her relationship to a previous owner of the desk is affecting and nuanced. Listeners who enjoy lingering over a top-notch novel will be intellectually nourished by this audio. A Norton hardcover.

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    Penguin Books Ltd
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