Book Club Members: Time to Discuss HOUSEKEEPING

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by kholmes, Dec 27, 2006.

  1. kholmes

    kholmes New Member

    Not sure how many of you had the chance to read December's book, Housekeeping, by Marilynne Robinson. I'm also going to post another "What have you been reading lately?" thread soon.

    I first read Housekeeping when I was 20, and I thought it was beautifully written. I loved the descriptions of the Idaho setting. Having lost a parent, I could relate to the theme of loss in the novel. Sylvie's hobo-like lifestyle, riding the rails and free as the wind, also appealed to me.

    Now that I'm twice that age, Sylvie's life didn't quite have the romantic appeal that it had for me when I was younger. I could understand Lucille's desire to live a more domestic life, and I could even relate to the community's and the sheriff's concern about Ruthie.

    So what did you think of the novel?

    Could you relate to any of the characters--Ruthie? Lucille? Sylvie?

    What is wrong with Sylvie, anyway?

    How would the story be different seen through Lucille's eyes?

    What is this book ABOUT, really?

  2. Shannonsparkles

    Shannonsparkles New Member

    Hope to get it sometime next week. I didn't remember to order it right away.

    ((oops)) Sounds like a good one. :)
  3. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    At the risk of sounding like a complete bird brain, I have NO idea what this book is really about. What's more, I found it depressing. Maybe it was me and/or the time I read it but if it hadn't been a Book Club book I wouldn't have finished it. Maybe I have to stick with the light stuff these days.

    I'll be watching with great interest to see what the more intellectual of us here found of worth in it.

  4. Cromwell

    Cromwell New Member

    I really loved the writing style and vivid descriptions in this book. I really identified with the eccentric aunt, Sylvie, and that lifestyle once appealed to me.

    For people who found the novel a little too hard to follow, as it does jump about a bit between Seattle and Ken, I thought it was somewhere in WA state they had moved to, so thanks for telling me it was Idaho, --- well, you may want yto try and rent the movie which was well done with the superb Christine Lahti (sp) playing Sylvie.

    I thought this novel was really about how society shuns those who buck the norm. I see Sylvie as a strong character as she stuck to her own self rather than appease society (although she briefly tries).

    Ken what is January's book?

    Love Annie cromwell
  5. rockgor

    rockgor Well-Known Member

    No readee. I picked up 3 books in a row that were about abused/murdered children. Didn't read any of them.

    Annie, isn't a Lahti what you buy at Starbucks?
  6. kholmes

    kholmes New Member

    The film adaptation is really good, isn't it? I can't find it on Netflix, though.

    It's directed by Bill Forsyth, a director from Glasgow, Scotland (Paulmack's hometown!). I would agree that Christine Lahti is perfect as Sylvie, and the actresses that play the two daughters are very good, too. I remember the film using the song, "Good Night Irene," beautifully.

    I'm not totally sure of the Idaho setting, but I read somewhere that that's where the book is set. I don't think the state is ever mentioned in the novel.

    I liked how you put the theme of the novel, Anne. Do you think Sylvie would fit in better somewhere besides Fingerbone, or do you think it's society in general that she has trouble adapting to?

    I also wondered as I read it, whethere Sylvie's nonconformity was a result of the grief over the loss of her father in the train accident or if she would have just naturally avoided society's expectations due to here character.
    [This Message was Edited on 12/28/2006]
  7. kholmes

    kholmes New Member

    You might look up Housekeeping on Amazon. There are some really interesting reader opinions, just below the publisher's reviews. People tend to either love or hate this book, partly due to its style, I think. You're definitely not alone in your opinion.

    [This Message was Edited on 12/28/2006]
  8. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    I can't say I hated it, I just didn't love it.

    I love books that stay with me long after the final page, characters who become like friends, people to whom I can relate without a degree in psychology. lol

  9. foggyfroggy

    foggyfroggy Guest

    I loved the style of writing - I think she is a phenominal writer. I felt a real sense of loss when Ruthie 'followed' Sylvie instead of Lucille even though I loved Sylvies character.
    I think the book is about loss and how we cope, react, internalize, externalize or whatever. Her comment about how those we lose are somehow more vivid to us than those still around us struck a chord.
    Lucille needed to control what she could but Ruthie never felt she had any control whatever. Sylvie? Who knows!

    I enjoyed it but it was also depressing. And I am certainly NOT tempted to live in Fingerbone! What a grim place! I wonder where the author lives? It did state toward the end of the book that it took place in Idaho.

    I'll shut up now ;-)
  10. kholmes

    kholmes New Member

    Very well-put. I think Robinson really captures the effects loss has on people. I liked your point about control, too.

    Her writing style is incredible. There were so many magnificent, beautiful sentences in the novel. She has a newer book from 2004 called GILEAD. I haven't read it, but have heard it's also excellent. The plot has nothing in common with Housekeeping; Gilead is about a 70 year old past who writes a long letter to his 7 year old son, but the style is supposed to be similar.

    For some reason, life in a small mountain town like Fingerbone appeals to me. But I would probably go stir-crazy there before too long. And living in New Mexico now, I'd miss the sun during winter months!

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