Every sentence of Robinson’s novels are perfectly constructed. It is rumored she doesn’t continue on to the next sentence until the one she is presently on reaches its finished form in her exacting eye. This is her first and perhaps finest novel, a story of family tragedy that orphans the narrator and her sister. When their brooding, quirky aunt arrives to raise them, rivalries simmer and reputations are altered forever. Masterful and hauntingly beautiful prose pulls this slow-burning book to its lingering conclusion.— Joe Michon-Huneau
Winner of the Pen/Hemingway Award
A modern classic, Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping is the story of Ruth and her younger sister, Lucille, who grow up haphazardly, first under the care of their competent grandmother, then of two comically bumbling great-aunts, and finally of Sylvie, the eccentric and remote sister of their dead mother.
The family house is in the small town of Fingerbone on a glacial lake in the Far West, the same lake where their grandfather died in a spectacular train wreck and their mother drove off a cliff to her death. It is a town "chastened by an outsized landscape and extravagant weather, and chastened again by an awareness that the whole of human history had occurred elsewhere."
Ruth and Lucille's struggle toward adulthood beautifully illuminates the price of loss and survival, and the dangerous and deep undertow of transcience.
“So precise, so distilled, so beautiful that one doesn't want to miss any pleasure it might yield.” —Le Anne Schreiber, The New York Times Book Review
“Here's a first novel that sounds as if the author has been treasuring it up all her life...You can feel in the book a gathering voluptuous release of confidence, a delighted surprise at the unexpected capacities of language, a close, careful fondness for people that we thought only saints felt.” —Anatole Broyard, The New York Times
“I found myself reading slowly, than more slowly--this is not a novel to be hurried through, for every sentence is a delight.” —Doris Lessing