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Housekeeping (Anglais) Broché – 1 novembre 2004


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Book by Robinson Marilynne


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173 internautes sur 175 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Unlike any novel I've ever read 8 février 2005
Par Debbie the Book Devourer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
This book revolves around two sisters, Ruthie and Lucille, told from Ruthie's point of view. After their mother abandons them on their grandmother's doorstep, they are raised by the grandmother, then by her two sisters-in-law, and finally by their Aunt Sylvie, who always seems about to join up with her mind, which is always somewhere else.

The plot of the book is hardly the point, however. The words are. Reading this book was like looking at an impressionist painting or living inside someone's dream or reading her mind. Words and sentences on their own don't seem to make much sense, but in the context of the larger work, they swirl to form feelings, images, dreams, fears, and thoughts, bouncing from one to another to form a narrative whole. The resulting picture is utterly stunning, dripping with metaphor and stacked in layers.

This is one of the most skillfully written books I've ever read. Aside from a couple passages I found hard to get through, the book captivated me completely from beginning to end. Read it slowly to enjoy every word.
287 internautes sur 302 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Intellectually demanding 25 janvier 2006
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
I am somewhat amused by the clear split between the reviews posted here: either the readers loved it or absolutely despised it. There is very little middle ground. This book is clearly difficult - I'm an avid reader, hold a degree in Comparative Literature and am an English teacher and I found myself reaching for the dictionary often. This is not a book to take lightly. It is not a novel that should be read as a simple fiction. This novel requires a lot of mental involvement and you will be exposed to different ideas, ideas that many people seem to find off-putting. It is so well written that you could, if you wished, fly through it quickly but I don't recommend it. Slow down and savor the words and phrasing and analyze the characters. This book is about a family trying to survive and cope with death and permanence. It is a slice of the darker side of life that most people wish to ignore. Yes, it's painful at times but most lessons tend to be so. It's a book about survival and trying to find a place in society; or whether you want to be a part of that society or not.

Housekeeping is not light entertainment. You will have to work and study it but it is so beautifully written that it is a joy. Settle down with your dictionary and enjoy it. I know I did.
155 internautes sur 161 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Fiction as reverie 11 septembre 2004
Par csk - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
This is certainly one of the most well written books in English published in the second half of the 20th century. Robinson has only written this novel, but unlike many first published novels, esp. by American women writers in the past few decades, Robinson has written a mature, flawless piece of fiction that never collapses into a confessional narrative; she doesn't fall prey to the hypersensitive, victimized "I." Her story is straightforward enough--a simple plot, very American, of repetition and distillation from one generation to another--two sisters, two sisters, two sisters. It is her language that is remarkable--there are passages so lyrical, yet tolerably lyrical, that I dare you to read them without feeling movement within yourself--the frozen sea shift about. My father read it, and said to me that it was "too sad, nearly unbearably sad." But it is only sad because it is so resonant--it conjures living using language in a way that persuades the reader to be present in the world, with its smells, noises, textures, shadows, tastes. A brilliant, nearly perfect novel.
91 internautes sur 93 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Meditation on Impermanence 8 juin 2005
Par Roger Brunyate - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
I ordered this book after listening to a program about it on NPR's Diane Rehm Show. I fully agree with the radio commentators on the quality of Robinson's writing and the richness of her imagery. As urged by Doris Lessing (in a review quoted on the jacket), I read this slowly and then more slowly, and will probably return to it again, but unlike several other readers I did not find it heavy going, for its essence does not lie in its plot but in the enfolding and refolding of its thoughts.

A difficult book to understand? Yes surely. But very unusually in my experience, the jacket blurb includes a phrase which provides the perfect key to reading this book: "the dangerous and deep undertow of transience." It is, in fact, a meditation on impermanence, and it operates on a plane of recurrent and beautifully crafted imagery whose overall effect is almost surreal and certainly spiritual. The facts of this particular story are unimportant compared to the sense that everything we have and are in this world, and all the "housekeeping" we frantically undertake to keep hold of it, are temporary at best. I have certainly felt this myself, and I am not depressed but consoled to know that others understand this too.

Robinson's beautiful writing does have another side to it, however. Unlike other books about childhood, this one is narrated in a voice of exquisite sophistication. But the authorial voice does not square with what we know of the education and later life of the heroine, giving a self-conscious air to its artifice, despite the manifest poetic talent of the writer. Read as a sustained prose poem, however, the book is nothing less than superb, a minor masterpiece.

[Thinking again about this book a year after reading it, I also recognize that, although the details of its plot may vanish, it is one of those rare novels whose atmosphere and message grow and deepen in the memory, long after one has laid it down.]
96 internautes sur 106 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Beautiful, but tedious 28 mai 2008
Par M. Gibson - Publié sur Amazon.com
I read Gilead a while ago and loved it. Its language was beautiful and haunting, the story tender and heart-breaking. Housekeeping was different. It also has beautiful language, but that is where the similarities end. I have been wracking my brain trying to figure out what I did not like about this novel and the answer finally came to me: it has no plot. It has no substance. It had immense potential to be great, but for me, it fell utterly flat. Let me be clear, the language is BEAUTIFUL. There are passages on practically every page that made me breathless with the beautiful and creative wordplay of Ms. Robinson, but it was not enough to push the narrative forward on its own. I understand the symbolism, the allusions, etc. of the novel, but I also want the plot to move the story along, not the descriptions of a place alone. I want characters that I come to care about to push the story onward, I want a climax, I want to care about what happens to them on the next page, and sadly, I did not.

One could say that the lack of any feeling the reader had for the characters was the author's way of getting the reader to feel the lack of love and caring that the girls experienced in their own family. If so, I get it, but I wanted to made to feel that, even if their own family didn't care about them, I did. But that is not what happened. I simply stopped caring.

It just felt to me that the author used the idea of these two girls and their awkward, off-beat, tragic family as a vehicle for her magnificent use of the English language. And magnificent though it was, the story got bogged down with all of that lavish description, and I wanted more than that. I wanted substance.
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