In Housekeeping, Marilynne Robinson takes a deceptively commonplace topic, a record of life of narrator, Ruth Foster, living in the small town of Fingerlake, and transforms it with awe-inspiring storytelling and prose into a compelling modern masterpiece. Interpreting and linking the Foster family’s experiences and relationships, Robinson interweaves timelines, observations, points-of-view, and masterfully fuses a tour-de-force tale of universal significance. Every word, every well-planned and meaningful sentence, is part of a journey in which the author skillfully guides the reader into of depths of human consciousness, tackling concepts such as Perspective, Memory, Loneliness,Existence, and Spirituality, as they relate to the lives of her characters and humanity as a whole. Guided by her singular aesthetic, the reader eagerly joins in Robinson’s memorable and sweeping journey, marveling its genius all the way.
From the start, the reader is touched and moved by the depth and grit of Robinson’s writing, which allows for constant critical analysis of a mind-blowing array of topics, while always staying true and remaining relevant to her story, characters, and place. With powerful descriptive writing, Robinson provides an account of a family that is at once startlingly pretty and shockingly solitary and sad. She carefully entwines several notions about the about life and the human condition, which combine to articulate, explain, and make relevant for the reader mere seedlings of thoughts an ordinary person considers. The reader invests in the story; she is absorbed by the plethora of beauty, meaning, and messages it contains.
Robinson connects characters, stories, human experiences and thought, all of which show the reader the limitless potential of the mind to perceive, interpret, feel, and alter. She translates intersecting themes including: Love, Loneliness, Loss, Nature, Light, Dark, Memory, Perspective, Dreams, Family, Self, giving the reader a chance to think about the themes, reading, thinking, living, in different ways. Her molding of concepts and impact is so complete, it is difficult for the reader to choose which words, lines, or chapters in the text to interpret or favor-everything is stunning and new. The reader ends this text able to state-without a doubt- it leaves a discernible mark.
Housekeeping is a favorite in the collection of any fan of literary fiction. Like an old friend, a reader returns again and again, learning from the author and her writing anew each time. The writing and the story are packed full of, concepts, perspectives, ripe for the taking, ready to be plucked by each reader, new or old. Grab hold of the text, the characters, the author, and never let go!