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a book by Marilyn Robinson

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The Inhabitants of Fingerbone

  • Jul 2, 2010

Housekeeping mesmerized me. This novel, which I have come to consider a contemporary classic, is a tale of a bleak and wintry town with the dreadful name of Fingerbone, and of two young sisters who wind up stuck there after their mother commits suicide by driving her car into a lake. Eventually, they find themselves being cared for by a somewhat loopy, but nonetheless kind aunt with a very quirky housekeeping style. The descriptions of the desolate and vast landscapes, experienced via long walking journeys by the girls, are superbly done. The narration by one of the sisters is believable and captivating. Sylvie, the oddball aunt, is a terrific character, as are the two older aunts who precede her temporarily in the story. It's a slowly unraveling tale of a slowly unraveling woman (Sylvie) and her remarkably different effects on two sisters who start out close. I'd recommend this to anyone who really appreciates good writing. Bleakness and disorder are strong motifs in the story, as well as mental illness. I read this book decades ago, remembering the basic plot and that I'd really liked the book, and so I picked it up again after about 25 years. I think it was even better the second time. I have also seen the movie, with Aunt Sylvie played by Christine Lahti, and thought it stood up well to the book. It surprises me when a book that is so enriched by its wonderful prose style turns out well in a movie. I recommend both, but especially the book.

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More Housekeeping reviews
review by . July 06, 2010
I was first introduced to Housekeeping years ago in a college literature class and was completely engulfed in the novel during the short time it took me to read it; it became an instant favorite in my mind - the kind of favorite I would willingly reread, each time discovering new elements in the story. Marilyn Robinson's writing is perfectly simple and moving. I feel as though she could easily write beautifully about nothing, but it's to our benefit that the characters and events of this …
review by . July 09, 2010
Just finished the book Housekeeping by Mariylnne Robinson, and I come to the conclusion, which was made halfway through the book, that it's not the "American Classic" that is was made out to be. The story it's self could have definitely had more substance in character development and ease. The long over flowing paragraph long sentences would put me off track for the actual action and moment that was being talked about. I like descriptions, it helps me to develop a picture in my …
About the reviewer
Paula Ogier ()
Ranked #1437
I live in Boston, a city I find quite beautiful. Among other things, I'm a photographer, artist, writer, reader, and lover of very long walks. I worked for a cultural organization/adult ed center … more
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