Book Review | Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson


Housekeeping is remarkable in a number of ways, and it’s quite simply one of those rare books that I cannot understand why a person wouldn’t like. Its appeal seems completely universal to me, and the characters and prose so rich that I can’t imagine not being engrossed in it.

I read Gilead before I read Housekeeping and they are alike in the fact that they both demand to be read slowly and savored. During a typical week I’ll read 2-3 novels, but Marilynne Robinson writes a narrative that is both so incredibly complex and inspiringly precise that I can’t help but slow my reading to a snail’s pace and breathe in every word.

This is an exceptionally beautiful book about longing, loss, abandonment, the human condition, and so much more. I’m tempted to say that the real heart of this book can’t quite be put into words, but clearly it can because Marilynne Robinson has done so.

Highly recommended.

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2 thoughts on “Book Review | Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson

  1. I loved this book as well, loved it. I can definitely see where someone wouldn’t like it though. I think the way you loved the pacing, some people would be bored because the plot is so subtle – at least that’s what people told me when I asked. It sure is beautiful though. Have you read any of her other books, other than Gilead and Housekeeping?

  2. Ah, you know, that’s a good point. I was so stuck trying to think of a flaw that I didn’t consider the possibility that what I perceived as one of the main strengths could easily be frustrating to people. Interesting.

    I’ve haven’t yet read her third novel, “Home,” but I’m reading all the Orange Prize winners this year and it’s on the list. I also haven’t touched her non-fiction, though “When I Was a Child I Read Books: Essays” looks pretty god damn fantastic.

    I’m actually moving to Iowa in the fall and have enrolled at the University of Iowa, where she’s currently teaching. I’m not looking forward to be a 32-year-old Freshman, but I am looking forward to the possibility of stalking her!

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