One of the four narrators of Great House is a scholar of British poetry, and as I read the book I had these lines from Matthew Arnold’s poem, The Buried Life, going through my head:
Alas! is even love too weak
To unlock the heart, and let it speak?
Are even lovers powerless to reveal
To one another what indeed they feel?
A lyrical novel of interior lives, Great House alternates four linked stories of loss, memory and regret. All of the characters are dealing with loss, yet longing to connect outward. The different narrators are loosely connected by the looming presence of a large desk of many drawers–one mysteriously locked–although its meaning differs for each of them. Hard to describe, but beautiful to read; a finalist for the National Book Award. For those who liked her earlier book, The History of Love, this one is much more inward and somber, but no less beautiful.
RATING: **** Very, very good
Reviewed by: stc
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