Book 3: Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson

November 6, 2008 at 7:57 pm (Review) (, , , )

Disconcertingly I discovered a few pages in that I had seen the film of this on late night TV. It was one of those things that you catch the start of and watch the whole way through because it seems infinitely preferable to bed at the moment. (Why is it that bed seems a chore at night and a heaven of endless delight in the morning?). Anyway it wasn’t very good, nor was it very bad and I don’t think its half remembered scenes have affected my perception of the book too much. 

The book is beautifully written, full of carefully measured sentences and keen observation. It has moments of humour my favourite being ‘She was an old woman, but she managed to look like a young woman with a ravaging disease.’. All of which makes it sound like l liked it however, while there is no doubt that Robinson is seeking to write on the big themes, family, death and our place in the universe I am unconvinced of her success. I am able to see why the platitudes on the cover were written about this book there is no doubt of her skill as a creator of sentences but I struggled to find the heart or even any warmth at the centre of this book. For all the elegance and grace of the prose presented here I could not shake the feeling that it was not really telling me anything of significance either about the characters or myself.

Next up: Neil Gaiman, which I expect to view more favourably.


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