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House: A Memoir
     

House: A Memoir

by Michael Ruhlman
 

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Michael Ruhlman’s uncanny knack for taking a wide range of subjects and making them completely his own has gained him acclaim and popularity. In his latest offering, he owns the subject both figuratively and literally: his home. House really began in 1901 when a family moved into a brand-new house in Cleveland Heights—full of hope for the future and

Overview

Michael Ruhlman’s uncanny knack for taking a wide range of subjects and making them completely his own has gained him acclaim and popularity. In his latest offering, he owns the subject both figuratively and literally: his home. House really began in 1901 when a family moved into a brand-new house in Cleveland Heights—full of hope for the future and pride in their stunning home. But as time moved on, upkeep began to wane and, in the end, the house went on the market. And there it stayed for quite some time, until the Ruhlman family decided to buy the dilapidated building.

With the always-tedious home-buying process and expensive repairs soaring into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, the American Dream can seem like the American Nightmare. Detailing the purchase and renovation of a single family home, House explores the importance of the place we live in, our yearning to establish it, and the importance of the actual structure, its impact on our intellectual and spiritual lives, and on the struggles of a family. Packed with useful information and stories written with a storyteller’s flair, House is a dramatic narrative by a gifted writer who eloquently concludes that be it ever so humble, a castle or a row house downtown, there’s truly no place like home.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
The travails and deep, soul-satisfying pleasures of buying a grand fixer-upper in the old neighborhood. The house was proof positive of the Second Law of Thermodynamics: all systems tend toward entropy, and continuous energy is required to maintain order. Both qualities were firmly in evidence in the sprawling brick-and-shingle Victorian that Ruhlman (Walk on Water, 2003, etc.) and his wife bought in Cleveland Heights. The previous owners had given in to entropy and let the house run to ruin; the Ruhlmans, along with an army of wallet-busting builders, supplied the continuous energy-along with the angst and frustration inevitable when contending with the dozens of snafus attendant on home construction. Ruhlman has an easy voice, despite all the torments and his wife's decidedly ambivalent feelings about moving to his hometown. Cleveland was not her ideal locale, and she was not entirely thrilled about abandoning her photographic work to become the principal in raising their kids while Ruhlman went about his writing life. The author burrows into notions of home, examining nostalgia for the place where one grew up, the evolution of suburbia, and the history of Cleveland. He offers his thoughts on domestic well-being, scale and harmony, and the problem with contractors ("they keep asking for money"). He quotes Witold Rybczynski on how a home sets the stage for an emergent interior life and in general makes frequent, apposite use of scholars in the field of domestic architectural history and theory. Ruhlman occasionally wanders into strange digressions ("people who are unjustly imprisoned almost invariably lived lives that make them vulnerable to unjust convictions"), yet mostly he speakscommonsense as he frames a picture of what a home means. He's thought hard about the subject and mixed his reflections well with his personal experience. Squirts a measure of original thinking onto what has become a vast serving of the topic.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780670033836
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/28/2005
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.50(h) x 0.75(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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Meet the Author

Michael Ruhlman is the author of The Making of a Chef, The Soul of a Chef, and Charcuterie. He has also collaborated with Thomas Keller on two cookbooks, The French Laundry Cookbook and Bouchon. Additionally, Ruhlman has written for The New York Times, Gourmet, Saveur, and Food Arts magazine, as well as being featured on the PBS series Cooking Under Fire.

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