Monday, March 22, 2010
In a tiny town in the Midwest, where winter is harsh and springtime means destructive flooding, two sisters are shuffled from the care of their mother to their grandmother to their great-aunts to their aunt, as layer after layer of the family renders itself incapable of caring for them.
Housekeeping was first published in 1980 and was Robinson's first nomination for the Pulitzer Prize (she later won for Gilead). I came across the book as I was coming up with my Fill-in-the-Gaps list; it had made many a "Best Of" roster. It's a literary novel in the classic sense, very concerned with language and feeling. Replete with glorious visuals, the prose is very wintery and atmospheric. It is brief--only 220 pages--and so the reading of it comprises an afternoon of dripping simile. I enjoyed it, and am glad I read it. I can't say I was profoundly affected; for me, with this kind of book, I always wish there was a little more. But it was certainly a good read, and Robinson succeeded in bringing to life very vividly a small and failing town on the edges of the wilderness.
Anyone else read any Robinson? Any recommendations?