Customer Reviews for

Housekeeping

Average Rating 3.5
( 50 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(23)

4 Star

(6)

3 Star

(10)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(6)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

More Interesting than You'd Think!

I just finished reading one of the only novels I had started and not finished. I was supposed to read it for a Philosophy of Literature course I took during my undergraduate studies and during this failed effort I found this to be the most boring book in the world and c...
I just finished reading one of the only novels I had started and not finished. I was supposed to read it for a Philosophy of Literature course I took during my undergraduate studies and during this failed effort I found this to be the most boring book in the world and couldn't get past the first 20 pages (of only 219 pages!) At the time I confessed to this in class and found that I wasn't alone. However, the interesting thing was that it was all the males in the room that found it so boring and all the females who found it so intriguing. Now, let me immediately say I don't think this has anything to do with the fact that it is titled housekeeping. However, at the time we talked in class a great deal about the difference between a novel with such a feminine perspective and voice and the more numerous novels with a decidedly masculine voice and tone, regardless of the author's gender. I think the most distinctive difference between this novel and most novels I've read is the pace. It is very, very slow and methodical. The cover heralds the praise it received from the New York Times Book Review: 'so precise, so distilled, so beautiful that one doesn't want to miss any pleasure that it might yield.' I would agree. What I mistook in my first stalled out attempt to read this novel as clunky, boring details were in fact the careful groundwork of great storytelling. Nearly every dislike I had for this book was disproved during my second read. This book accomplishes an integral task of a successful novel, which is that the form of the storytelling reflects the world of the characters and causes the reader to experience the character's world in the same way. Years ago I criticized the book for doling out details in a stutter-stop fashion, but as I reread it now I realized that this is exactly how the characters matured and learned about these same things. Another gripe I had initially was of the pace, but this I think in reality just drives home how dull and slow the narrator's childhood and path into adulthood was. The act of housekeeping has so many meanings throughout the text that I don't want to spoil any of them, but I found it to be a useful touchstone as I followed the young sisters through adolescence in a small, boring, little town years ago. Overall, the story is very compelling and chapter after chapter the plight of the women whose lives this novel revolves around delve ever deeper into sadness and loneliness. However, it is in this complete isolation that the protagonist finds some semblance of happiness and peace. I would definitely suggest this book to anyone who has an open mind and enjoys a well-crafted novel.

posted by Anonymous on October 29, 2006

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Most Helpful Critical Review

9 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

Definitely Not For the Average Joe!

The work that it took to get through this novel was SERIOUS!!! Another reviewer stated that it's like each sentence is a poem within itself. However, it's not a poem...it's a novel and reading pages after pages of paragraphs full of that style of writing can be too mu...
The work that it took to get through this novel was SERIOUS!!! Another reviewer stated that it's like each sentence is a poem within itself. However, it's not a poem...it's a novel and reading pages after pages of paragraphs full of that style of writing can be too much for the average joe. At times I actually read some of the sentences outloud to my friends and when finished, they looked back at me with shocked faces. The story gets more interesting as it goes along but the amount of work it took to get there isn't worth it. I do not recommend this book to anyone who does not have 2 hours to read one page.

posted by bhw1978 on December 24, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2007

    flawless but vacuous

    This novel was flawlessly written, but unfortunately I mean that in an ambiguous or even a negative way. The author's prose style is impeccable, there is not a sentence out of place, and there are moments of great lyrical beauty, as in the description of the narrator's and her aunt's night spent out by the lake. But the author's storytelling is devoted to a story of emotional emptiness. There is little psychology or analysis of motive here, and while this is probably the author's aim, the novel as a whole falls short of the sum of its parts. Still, it cannot be faulted for anything in particular, and the prose is reasonably good. Many readers will like it, but there will be some people here and there who find it vacuous, too. I am reminded of Thomas Carlyle's comment on Tennyson's Idylls, 'the lollipops are so superlative,' and that holds here as well.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2005

    Lovely writing

    Robinson's style of writing makes for a slower read, like Jane Austen's books(don't care for). The wording of the story was lovely at times. I found the story a bit slow but it has stayed with me after reading it several months ago.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2005

    I liked it.

    This story was ok. I have read better. I had to read it for school, and i found it diffiucult to answer the required questions on this book. On the other hand, it was peaceful and i liked that.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2012

    World Book Night U.S.

    This book was given to me free in hopes of sparking an interest in reading of a different genre. I hope to start next week and post soon thereafter. There are 30 books for 2012....check it out!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2010

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    Posted January 13, 2011

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    Posted July 4, 2011

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    Posted October 26, 2008

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    Posted September 14, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2011

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