Tuesday, February 8, 2011

More, Please

After reading page 289 of Nicole Krauss' new book, Great House, I greedily turned to the next page.  And found it blank.  I flipped through the next few blank pages too, searching for words.  Then, desperate, I considered turning back to page 1, and starting all over again.  This is definitely a book that I will read again, and I'm not really a person who has time to read books twice.
I finished reading Great House while on a break during a seminar.  Once the seminar resumed, I couldn't help myself from disturbing the people around me by pulling the book out to confirm dates, to see who had blue eyes and whose were black, and to try to make the connections that I know I missed the first time through.  The next time that I read it, I will try to pay more attention to the paintings mentioned in each story. I'm wondering if they give hints to what will happen either in that story or in one of the others. I also want to think about the piano. It seems like it must mean something that two characters play a grand piano. Finally, I will notice what each character is writing - there is a writer in each story, and their work could offer hints. I may also be tempted to write a timeline and insert births, deaths, and important events to see how they all fit.

Great House was a finalist for the National Book Award for 2010, but the final award went to Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon. Now I will have to add Lord of Misrule to my TBR list, just to compare.

Yes, I admit it.  I am obsessed with Jonathan Safran Foer and Nicole Krauss, who are pictured on your left.  They are my favorite literary couple, with Glen David Gold and Alice Sebold a solid but distant second.  When I pick up one of NK's books, I do so with the assumption that it will not be as good as the last book that I read by JSF.  But on my list of my 10 all time favorite books, Nicole Krauss is the only author with 2 books on this list, with both The History of Love and Great House.

For me, the sign of a really great book is that I want to talk about it as soon as I finish reading it.  To that end, I have added a page of "spoilers" to this blog, where I have posted  my ideas about how certain characters are connected, and how I wish (and have decided in my own mind) that others are.  To bring you up to date from the last posting, however, I will say that the second half of the book revisited each of the four stories that were in the first half, and most of the questions were answered.  The unanswered questions are the most tantalizing, because I think that they probably really were answered, and that I just missed it. 

Go. Get. It. And. Read.        Now.

Next Up:  The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein by Peter Ackroyd

Still Listening to:  Inheritance of Loss  by Kiran Desai

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