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Monday, July 14, 2014

The Hundred-Year House: A Novel

I found an incredible novel, and it's called The Hundred-Year House by Rebecca Makkai. Seriously. LOVED. IT. SO. MUCH.

Laurelfield, the family home of the Devohrs, a second-tier wealthy family, is just outside of Chicago. After the suicide of matriarch Violet, the home was turned into an artists colony for decades until the granddaughter, Gracie, arrived with her husband and settled in to their wealth. Gracie's daughter, Zee, is a Marxist scholar who has returned home with her poet-scholar husband after receiving a position at the local college. They live in the carriage house and are soon joined by an out-of-work Case, Zee's stepbrother, and his artist wife Miriam. The house, however, may be haunted by Violet and her horrible death. It may also deeply affect everyone in the house, a house that holds so many secrets and stories that it defines the cliche, "If these walls could talk."

So, yeah, about this book. I loved it. All of it. This was one of those so-great novels that comes along only a few times a year and makes (MAKES YOU, I SAY!) tell everyone you know to read it. It has a ghost story, people going crazy (BUT ARE YOU THE ONE WHO IS CRAZY?!?), it has emotions and relationships and secrets galore. And see, the thing about those secrets? Unless you know that there even are secrets, you will never find out what they are. I found this book to be so incredibly interesting and engrossing and a novel. Like, a real, grown-up novel that made me laugh and lean in further to not miss a thing.

These secrets, man. They drive the second half of the story. You spend the first half even just finding out that the secrets go deeper than you can ever imagine, and then it is all turned on its head. You won't expect it and you will love it. The characters are so fully-formed that they come to you ready to party. They each have an incredible character arc, and over time it's hard not to cheer each and every one on, including a couple of periphery characters. There is one storyline where Zee tries to sabotage a colleague, and instead of thinking he deserves it for being such a jerk, I actually wanted to support him. When Zee makes a final decision about her sabotage, I found that I was shocked but not surprised--of course she would make the choice that she made. I can't tell you what it is, though--because it's just that fabulous.

Basically I want you all to read this book right now. It was simply lovely and I need someone to talk to about how much I loved this book.

Hard copy for purchase below.

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