I have been so excited waiting for Great House to come out. I have both of Krauss's other books, A History of Love and Man Walks Into a Room. I also have all of her husband, Jonathan Safran Foer's books and love all of them. So I was pretty pumped for Great House.
"It was then, looking at his strange face, that I knew that a door had opened, but not the kind of door my father had imagined. This one I could walk through, and right away it was clear to me that I would. Another wave of nausea came over me, nausea mixed with happiness and also relief, because I sensed that one chapter of my life had ended and another was about to begin."
Like A History of Love, Great House is told from many different points of view all loosely connected through ways that aren't clear right away. Krauss is able to capture different voices during different time periods and who have such different thoughts. All of the characters are complicated and complex and parts of them are still hidden from the reader. At one point I had to make a chart to get it straight in my head how the characters related to each other - and this chart shifted as I read on.
"I chose the freedom of long unscheduled afternoon in which nothing happens but the slightest shift in mood as captured in a semicolon."
But the dominating presence in the book is a piece of furniture, a desk.This desk has special meaning to almost all of the characters and the massive, many-drawered desk is constantly moving in location and meaning.Krauss keeps her characters rooted in the Jewish faith and a great deal of the action takes place in Jerusalem.
"Alone, I could slip into a kind of stillness, into a place like that bog those children once drew, where faces rise up out of the elements and all is quiet, like the moment just before the arrival of an idea, a stillness and a peace I've only ever felt when along."
Her writing is beautiful and touching. When I reached the last page, I turned to the next hoping to read on and feeling a sinking pit in my mind that the book was over. This also happened when I read Everything is Illuminated by her hubby. I kept thinking about the loose ends and untold details and how I wanted to know more about every character and I realized that she ended the book perfectly.