- Taschenbuch: 304 Seiten
- Verlag: Viking; Auflage: Open Market edition (7. Oktober 2010)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0670919330
- ISBN-13: 978-0670919338
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 15,3 x 2,2 x 23,4 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 2 Kundenrezensionen
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 391.200 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
Great House (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 7. Oktober 2010
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Krauss organic scenes soar, she is stunning.--Karen R. Long
A complex, richly imagined new novel Krauss 's talent runs deep. And she cannot write a bad sentence: pound for pound, the sentences alone deliver epiphany upon epiphany. --Janet Byrne
Starred Review: Krauss masterful rendition of character is breathtaking, compelling.... This tour de force of fiction writing will deeply satisfy fans of the author s first two books and bring her legions more. "
Starred Review. This stunning work showcases Krauss's consistent talent.... Much like in Krauss's The History of Love, the sharply etched characters seem at first arbitrarily linked across time and space, but Krauss pulls together the disparate elements, settings, characters, and fragile connective tissue to form a formidable and haunting mosaic of loss and profound sorrow. "
[An] elegiac novel achieved through exquisitely chosen sensory details that reverberate with emotional intensity. Here [Krauss] gives us her tragic vision pure. It is a high-wire performance, only the wire has been replaced by an exposed nerve, and you hold your breath, and she does not fall. --Rebecca Newberger Goldstein"
[Krauss] writes of her characters despair with striking lucidity an eloquent dramatization of the need to find that missing piece that will give life its meaning. --Sam Sacks"
While her prior, much-vaunted novel, The History of Love, was certainly fresh and winning, Great House strikes me as a richer, more seasoned exploration of the themes and images that bedevil Krauss Krauss sentences are so beautiful, rendered in such simple, clear language, I had to stop to reread many. --Joan Frank"
[The characters ] stunningly distinct and lively voices hold us captive to their versions of their lives. Krauss, who began her career as a poet, can do just about anything with the English language. --Ann Harleman"
Krauss herself is a fiction pioneer, toying with fresh ways of rendering experience and emotion, giving us readers the thrill of seeing the novel stretched into amorphous new shapes. --Maureen Corrigan"
The most heartbreaking part of Great House, the third novel by Nicole Krauss, is having to finish it As the mysteries of this beautifully written novel come spooling out, you ll marvel at how profoundly one brilliantly crafted metaphor involving a mute wooden artifact can remind us what it means to be alive. --Rachel Rosenblit"
A novel brimming with insights into the human psyche often haunting and ultimately rewarding. --Monica Rhor"
Krauss organic scenes soar, she is stunning. --Karen R. Long"
Surely if there is one book each author is meant to write, then there might also be one book each reader is meant to read. For plenty of fans out there, Great House just might be that book. "
Exquisite Krauss is a poetic stylist whose prose gives tremendous weight to her characters pain and struggles. --Sharon Dilworth"
A complex, richly imagined new novel Krauss s talent runs deep. And she cannot write a bad sentence: pound for pound, the sentences alone deliver epiphany upon epiphany. --Janet Byrne"
Krauss has a unique way of assembling novels baroque, complex, and with stunning tidiness that isn t clear until the very last page. All the parts do fit together in the end. The shape they form is the ghastly Great House, and its walls are ideas that leave the reader reverberating. --Jennie Rothenberg Gritz"
Artlessly lovely the pleasure of reading this book is in its details, its intimation of sincerity, its quiet wisdom. --Yevgeniya Traps"
[A] brave new novel [Krauss] has written one of the most lyrical novels I ve read in a long time. --Mike Fischer"
With grace and originality, Krauss writes of loss and many kinds of loneliness, the connections between memory and objects, between memory and identity, and about uncertainty. --Sandee Brawarsky"
Steeped in place and memory, Great House is a worthy successor to Krauss earlier works, more complex and more challenging. --Robin Vidimos"
I was captivated by the first chapter, and never disappointed thereafter as the various voices chimed in and the intricate connections began to connect. Perhaps it has a special resonance for writers (the two "All Rise" sections in particular, were utterly devastating) but at the same time I feel sure all kinds of readers will respond to it.... The richness of invention, the beauty of the prose, the aptness of her central images (oh, the desk!), the depth of feeling: who would not be moved? --Andrea Barrett, author of Ship Fever"
Krauss third novel is perhaps even more indicative [than The History of Love] of her ability to weave intricate storylines, craft emotionally layered characters and expertly draw out the pain, difficulty, and extreme complexity of human relationships. --Juliet Linderman"
Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende
Nicole Krauss has been hailed by the New York Times as one of America s most important novelists. She is the author of the international bestseller Great House, a finalist for the National Book Award, and Man Walks Into a Room. Her books have been translated into more than thirty-five languages.
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Ein solcher konkreter Erinnerungs-Gegenstand ist ein Schreibtisch - ein besonders großes Stück mit 19 Schubladen - der wie eine Art Dingsymbol die vier Geschichten miteinander verknüpft. Jede Geschichte des Romans ist auf die eine oder andere Weise mit diesem Möbelstück verknüpft; was es damit aber letzten Endes auf sich hat, wo der Schreibtisch ursprünglich herkommt und "wofür er steht", das bleibt offen. Eine Lösung in dem Sinne, dass alle Geheimnisse gelüftet würden, gibt es am Ende des Romans nicht.Lesen Sie weiter... ›
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I do not mean that Krauss made a wrong choice in this case, necessarily; her stories of failed communication, concealment and secrecy, conflicting memories, misinterpretations and confusions, are probably best told in this kind of recursive structure, making the novel something of a puzzle for the reader, who must approach the work as an alert and participatory rather than passive observer. The tricksy structure also may serve to conceal or at least distract from some considerable weaknesses in the novel, including the excessive symbolic weight placed on the central "object"--the mysterious desk--which serves as the red violin or the white whale of the plot. For me, at least, it never succeeds in coalescing the several tales--especially those of the failures of love, the most important in the novel.
My most serious complaint, however, is with Krauss's prose style. She writes poetically and many passages are truly rich in both imagery and emotional power--especially when her characters suffer the revelatory experiences that force them to self-recognition. But whether the character is a brilliant young pianist, a self-doubting middle-aged novelist, a retired scholar of Romantic poetry, or a widow living in Liverpool, the "voice" is always the same--while we know that the characters come from different backgrounds, different eras, seriously different points of view and cultural tradition, they all sound the same. And in a few cases (especially the novelist) they do go on and on and on far past the point at which we have understood the situation and significance of their pain. Some passages are undeniably very powerful--as, for example, that in which the significance of the title phrase is developed, or in some of the confrontations between the father and son in Israel--but too often I found myself wishing she would get on with it.
The themes of this novel are not unfamiliar, but are no less powerful for having been rehearsed before; the effort to reconstruct and hold on to the past in order to give meaning to the present is undeniably a powerful psychological drive, and Krauss portrays the different ways it works in differing lives with considerable insight. But finally, this novel felt contrived (for a good purpose, but still -- ) and though very much worth reading, not entirely consistent with its own ambitions.
"Bend a people around the shape of what they lost, and let everything mirror its absent form."
This elegiac story opens with Nadia, a now divorced and successful writer, who received the desk in 1972 from a Chilean poet, Daniel Varsky. Daniel needed a place to store furniture, and Nadia had an empty house. After a long night that resulted only in a brief kiss, he leaves her his desk, as well as other pieces of furniture, and returns to Chile and the tragic conditions of Pinochet's Junta regime. He never returns. Years later, during a particularly low period of her life, she receives a call from a woman, Leah Weisz, who alleges to be Varsky's daughter, and who has called to claim the desk. In the midst of this narrative, we occasionally break to Nadia confessing to an unknown "Your Honor." Nadia's attachment to the desk is profound and the loss of it signals keen despair.
Leah and her brother have lived a nomadic (yet insular) privileged life with their father, George, a mordant, esteemed antiques dealer who is legendary for his prowess in recovering any loss object. He is obsessed with scrupulously reconstructing his father's study, to make it the way it was before the Gestapo pillaged it during World War II. Odd as this may seem, this reassembling in relation to Jewish culture and history is sublime.
There is another Jewish family, a father with two sons, Dov and Uri, whose link to the desk is more obscure and is revealed in the latter part of the book. He plaintively details the loss of his wife, Eve, and confesses to the tenuous relationship with his sons. Its climactic section is the weakest and most strained of all. I suspect that Krauss used it as a more concrete connective device.
We also meet a grieving widower, Arthur, whose wife, Lotte, once in possession of the desk, died of Alzheimer's and left an elusive trail to a dark secret. Arthur warily and then desperately decides to investigate her past. The strands of Arthur's narrative lead to connections with other voices and a searing self-examination. Certainties are founded on shifting sand; a commanding desk holds many compartments.
The central denouement (there is more than one climactic scene) is the most moving and mystical of all the segments of the book, and for this reader, poetic and riveting. Its link to ancient Jewish culture is beautifully rendered and breathtaking. It makes sense of the entire book, as well as the title. I am tremendously indebted to Nicole Krauss for hypnotically transporting me to this summit of Judaic history.
Krauss is a cultivated and gifted prose writer; she edifies the reader with striking imagery while digging down to the boots of a person's soul. At times, she is long-winded, which nearly thwarts the pace of the story. And the peppering of Nadia's proclamations to "Your Honor" was a stylistic choice that didn't always work for me and felt self-conscious.
This non-linear and (architecturally) unorthodox story covers approximately sixty years, and is theme-driven; plot is secondary. The engagement is often cerebral, but also powerful and emotionally acute as the threads unravel. Additionally, what contents can lay for years in a locked compartment? What does a key open us to? There is much gravitas and many memories to unlock.
Some characters seem oblique, impinged upon by the relentless peal of confession, or lack distinction from each other. They run together, like spilled ink, (but sympathetically so). It may be what Krauss intended, because the characters' words, (and sometimes their absence) fluidly conjure that metaphor. Moreover, Krauss' delicacy of insight and reflective wisdom, like a haunting obituary, overcomes most obstacles, even a towering desk, and comes to a transcendent conclusion.
Highly recommended for all literary collections.
This review was based on a complementary copy I received from the publisher.
With GREAT HOUSE, Krauss leaves behind the almost childlike quality of her previous novel and takes possession of her maturity like a mansion. The four voices whose monologues make up most of the book all belong to people of middle age or older; they are people whose business is words and ideas; they have lived lives complex enough to include both achievement and regret; they describe themselves with a merciless clarity that does not, however, exclude the possibility of change. Their stories are perplexingly unconnected. A successful novelist in New York is visited by the daughter of a murdered Chilean poet whom she had known in her youth, and requests the return of a desk that he lent to her. An elderly Israeli lawyer, sitting shiva for his wife, is joined by his estranged son, now a distinguished British judge. At another funeral in London, an Oxford professor thinks back over his long marriage to his own late wife, and of those parts of her life that she kept resolutely private, even from him. An American scholar recalls the time she also spent shuttling between Oxford and London, and her friendship with the two children of a reclusive man who runs an international business in antiques based in Jerusalem.
As we read, we inevitably look for connections between these stories, only to find that the few clues do not seem to link up. Instead we start to find thematic connections: roots and rootlessness; the almost arbitrary importance of possessions; parents dominating or neglecting their children; the use of writing to make sense of a shattered life; the loneliness of having to choose between the peopled world and the inner haven of ideas. Although the four speakers are distinct, each of the sections is richly textured, challenging the reader to keep a tight grasp on the increasing complexity of the structure as a whole; those tottering nested boxes on the front cover turn out to be a most relevant image. The one thing that does seem to connect most (but at first not all) of the stories is the poet's desk, and we begin to understand the symbolic importance of recovering objects that remind one of a life before old age, before the waning of inspiration, before torture and death, before the Holocaust. But we also learn the secret of another kind of identity that can survive the loss of property or the destruction of Solomon's Temple: the temple of ideas, of laws and knowledge, the Great House of thought and belief that can transcend diaspora.
Important ideas seldom occur in isolation. The structure of almost disconnected narratives here reminded me a little of Frederick Reiken's brilliant debut novel DAY FOR NIGHT, but with a much longer attention span. Some sections of the Israeli jurist's memories of the failed upbringing of his son seemed uncannily close to David Grossman's recent TO THE END OF THE LAND, though they are painful for rather different reasons. But the very thing that sets this book so impressively apart from its contemporaries is probably also what will make many readers like it less: it is uncompromising in avoiding the spurious tying-up of loose ends. As the book enters its second part and many of the same voices return, we will find our compassion growing and understanding deepening. There will be epiphanies -- but they will be small ones. We may never know how everything fits together in every detail, and actually Krauss can be a little cavalier in the connections she does make. But it can be that way in life too, where even in the best of circumstances a perfect reconstruction is unlikely. And for a people who have had the larger part of their heritage erased forever by the Holocaust, it is impossible. Nicole Krauss is their chronicler, chief mourner, and poet.
Great House is a complicated multi-layered book that demands of the reader to have some knowledge of the Jewish religion to be able to understand all of its layers. Great House must be read at different levels, as one would the Bible. One starts withe the "simple", superficial level of the story of the seperate characters and the towering desk that links them. One then goes on to the "hinted" level by following the clues liberally scattered throughout the narrative but which really are only obvious once one knows what the book's conclusion is and then one reaches the "deducted" level by extrapolating further using common "knowns" in the Jewish religion. Finally one reaches the "secret" level where the ultimate key to the book lies. I read this book three times (in four days, I was obsessed). The first time I read it like a straight "who done it"and only realised at the end that I had completely missed the point while never the less being enchanted by the beautiful language and the familiarity of all the characters. I felt that Nicole Krauss had somehow walked through my life, looked out of my eyes and knew my relatives, my Jewish friends all over the world, my mother's friends from Central Europe (the Holocaust generation)and modern Israeli society, where I live now, and yet I still knew that I had not understood the book. So I read it again and was astounded by what I found in it during the second reading. And then I read it again to try to gain access to its ultimate secret.
Great House is about the "people of the book" (i.e. Jews)and all its characters are in some way or another connected to writing, successfully or otherwise, directly or indirectly.Through them we are given different facets of the common Jewish historical memory, from the destruction of the Second Temple, the dispersion into different cultures, the Holocaust and the recreation of the State of Israel and its society. The characters are linked in time and space by a certain writing desk,the description of which calls to mind the models and descriptions of the Second Temple with the desk's eighteen drawers, the eighteen attributes of God (the central prayer of daily Jewish worship, which is called "the eighteen" though actually having nineteen blessings in it) while its nineteenth drawer contains the unknowable (it is locked). The desk must, of course, contain the Holy of Holies and be destined to reside in the Inner Sanctum (the room in Jerusalem) The key of the nineteenth drawer is not lost but, we learn, is kept hidden by the "High Priest" who is the only one who may enter the inner sanctum. The final location of the desk is worthy of a Dan Brown detective story and Raiders of the Lost Ark combined. The constant presence of the desk throughout the narrative is like that of the Temple and religion in Jewish life: it may be gone but it is still overwhelmingly present. The longing for the past and the dilemma of whether to try to reconstruct it or to go on as we have done since then, as described in the explanation about the creation of the "great house" as given in the book (the central clue), is perhaps the central pivot of the book.It is exemplified in Lotte's daily swim which is in fact a daily, ritual purification to wash away her past sin and a daily decision to go on living. It is there in the horrible, pseudo-desk offered to Nadia which has none of the real desk's true culture and would be obtained fraudulently. It is all pervasive in the story of Weisz and his children.
Even without any Jewish background, I am sure that the reader will be entranced by the sheer beauty of the writing, the compelling story line and the vivid accuracy of the characters. In any case, this book provides a compelling insight into the varying, modern Jewish cultures. It repays one many times over for the slight effort of a careful reading.
It's a big theme, and, as it relates to World War II, one that's been explored countless times before, including Krauss' last book. In this one, besides a complicated narrative that begins to feel willfully elusive, the characters aren't very likable. An emotionally self-protective New York writer journeys to Israel, where she finds more truth than she bargained for. A British academic discovers his secretive wife has been hiding something massive from him. (Oddly, in its quotidian details, this story line bears a more than passing resemblance to John Bayley's memoir about his wife, the writer Iris Murdoch.) We have the isolated son and daughter of an antiques dealer, a man who retrieves property stolen from Jewish families during WW II. The least believable, sympathetic or necessary story line involves an Israeli lawyer venting about his frustrating relationship with a difficult son. Every one of the main characters is a tremendous self-examiner, but since this self-examination isn't attached to much of a plot, it turns tedious.
Krauss is a highly accomplished writer. She has a keen eye for the telling physical detail and an acute skill in navigating the emotional registers of numbness, loss, sorrow, stifled pain. She feels deeply and transfers a sense of uncompromising self-examination to her characters. In fact, one of the book's main themes is what one has to leave behind in order to become a real writer - everything, apparently. It's easier to bear this level of drilling down when it's leavened with a little humor, as it was so deftly, wonderfully, in The History of Love. If you want to learn more about the physical and psychological losses suffered by European Jewry in the middle of the twentieth century, told through four exhaustive case studies of neurotic emotional connection, this is a book for you. Otherwise, read The History of Love, if you haven't, and eagerly anticipate her next novel.