*Originally published 2015/09/11
August turned out to be a very busy month for the five of us so we decided to meet after Labour Day weekend. The book selected was Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson. Robinson had been on my list for a bit so I was excited to delve into this novel.
HOUSEKEEPING Written by Marilynne Robinson
1981; 219 Pages (Picador/ Faber and Faber)
Genre: literature, fiction
The story is about Ruth and her sister, Lucille – told from Ruth’s point of view. She shares with us how they are first abandoned by their father and then their mother, Helen, takes her own life leaving them in the care of their maternal grandmother. She is a good influence on the girls but soon dies. Their grandmother’s two sister-in-laws moved into the home to take care of the girls. They are unsure of how to raise the girls but were still competent. Once Sylvie, Helen’s sister, returns home upon hearing about her mother’s death she takes over the girls’ care. Sylvie has never led a stable life and instead of giving the girls stability she brings chaos that cause Ruth and Lucille to question their future quicker than some others. The title “Housekeeping” describes the novel well…but will leave you to read the novel to find out why 😉
Robinson is great with words and has this ability to convey to readers just what loss means to Ruth. I enjoyed this story but at times the details are too immense and not relevant to the book. I found that this book would have been a tighter piece of prose as a short story or more concentrated vignettes tied together as a book. I am glad I read this novel and will definitely try another novel but this is not a reread for me. This is a good novel to try if you enjoy a good writing and don’t mind a little more detail than needed.