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“Susan T said: 5 stars
Didn’t Like It1 of 1 members found this review helpful
“A very confusing novel that maybe should have been a collection of short stories. The desk that seems in the first chapter to be the connecting thread of the various characters, locales and sub-plots, disappears halfway through, leaving this reader to wonder why they are all in the same story. ...”see full review » see other reviews »
“Beautiful language by Krauss, as expected. Although I fell hard for her older novel, "The History of Love", this one is also pretty special. Can be a little confusing as there are four main characters each telling a story semi independent from the others. Once the common thread is understood and analyzed, the message becomes clear and relatable. I had to read a few chapters over again! I'm glad I did! ”Anabela Lopes wrote this review Friday, February 15, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This is my first review I'm writing for Shelfari, mostly out of frustration of the first few reviews I've read here about Great House.
When people reviewing said whole story lines should have been eliminated, what!? no! How on earth would one ever get the story without all the parts! I loved this book, though it was hard to at first, since Mrs. Krauss takes a while to build the story line. I'm not one, for some reason, to usually pay attention to the chapter titles but Mrs. Krauss insists that you do in her books, if you want to better (more easily) understand the story and how it is unfolding.
In truth I came to the reviews for a spoiler, something to help me sort the ending. But I wasn't patient enough to read through all of them, so the answer may be in some other reviews too. I just ended up going back through a bit, something I was more than willing to do because I knew Mrs. Krauss' story was worth the trouble. This review is for all the other readers who didn't like the book because, from what I can see, they couldn't put the pieces together or see their importance.
SUPER SIMPLIFIED COMPLETE SPOILER of characters and connections - I would advise only reading this after you finish the book!!
1st discussed owner of the Desk c.before1944:Father of Mr. Weisz
(unclear how many owners until Lotte)
2nd possessor of the Desk:possibly Lotte's former lover, name unknown, possibly father of Daniel Varsky
3rd possessor of the Desk c.after1939:Lotte b.1921, lover of Arthur, mother of Daniel Varsky
4th possessor of the Desk c1970:Daniel Varsky b.1948 d.1974, lover of Nadia briefly, adopted by Mrs. Fiske
5th possessor of the Desk c1973+/-:Nadia, lover of S,R,& briefly Daniel Varsky
6th possessor of the Desk:Leah Weisz
7th possessor of the Desk c2005+/-:Yoav Weisz & Izzy's Son b.2005+/-
Dov (aka Your Honor) was run over by Nadia during one of his night wanders, while she was trying to drive back to Mr. Weisz to demand the desk's whereabouts.
The only part that may be left unsaid or I missed it, is who/how/when Lotte came into possession of the desk.
I loved this book, and I loved The History of Love, both richly entwined stories. Can't wait for another book from Nicole Krauss!!
(I only gave it 4 stars because I save 5 stars for my all time favorites)”
“excellent book but a bit confusing at the end...”Carol Kantor wrote this review Thursday, January 31, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This book was just average. There were times I was into the story and could not wait to see what happened next. At other times I was bored and it was hard to read on.”Michelle H wrote this review Tuesday, January 15, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“An uncomfortable book that I began twice and only finished with great effort. Once I grasped that the chapters were separate stories, the same characters reappearing in corresponding chapters in the second half of the book, I found it easier and even enjoyed some passages. The separate stories are linked by an antique desk which falls into the ownership of different individuals whose tales are told. Each story is told in the first person, therefore the narrators keep changing, which added to my initial confusion.
It’s a slow, seemingly uneventful book, its action spread over many years and several cities, New York, Jerusalem, London. I found the second half a bit depressing, but the author shows huge understanding of the emotions of her damaged characters. It is thought provoking, and it’s in depth writing make it one that many will treasure. It’s also a book that probably needs and deserves a second reading. There is so much here that reading groups could discuss. Deep perception of the characters results in wonderful prose. Technically brilliant but somewhat esoteric.
I’m torn as to how to rate this novel. It’s not for me, but it did have a profound effect on me as only great writing can.
“Terrible things befall people, but not all are destroyed. Why is it that the same thing that destroys one does not destroy another? There is the question of will - some inalienable right, the right of interpretation remains.
The absence of things is more useful than their presence. Useful for what?”
“Some parts were really good, but other stories were too long and drawn out The end was interesting how everything came together. ”Debbie M wrote this review Saturday, November 3, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“A book that evades the reader and leave one feeling, like its entire cast of characters, longing, regret, and desire.”TRHickman wrote this review Saturday, October 6, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Un puzzle care, dupa ce ai primit si potrivit toate piesele, dezvaluie o imagine frumoasa si emotionanta.”Nico wrote this review Saturday, August 18, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I enjoyed this. I thought it was very well-written and thought provoking. It touches on loss, memory, how the past resonates throughout many generations, and what our children carry after we're gone. There were some parts I enjoyed better than other. I think my favorite, which was too short, was True Kindness, about father and his son, Dov, who have never really gotten along. Lies Told By Children was my second favorite. Swimming Holes seemed to be the strongest thread in this book, and I kinda wish she had just left out All Rise. It can be difficult to get past the beginning section of All Rise, but once you do the stories become much more compelling.”Arielle wrote this review Saturday, August 11, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No