February 03 , 2010


A Novel


Winner of the Pen/Hemingway Award

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Kindred Spirit: Possessive

I'm not sure how long I had been sitting in the rotting chair when I started to hear scratching at the back door. It sounded like a wild animal ripping its way through the rotted old wood that hung poorly over the back entrance.Then I heard long nails scrape over the old ceramic tiles that coated the shabby little kitchen area. The I caught a…

A modern classic, Housekeeping is the story of Ruth and her younger sister, Lucille, who grow up haphazardly, first under the care of their competent grandmother, then of two comically bumbling great-aunts, and finally of Sylvie, the eccentric and remote sister of their dead mother. The family house is in the small town of Fingerbone on a glacial lake in the Far West, the same lake where their grandfather died in a spectacular train wreck and their mother drove off a cliff to her death. It is a town "chastened by an outsized landscape and extravagant weather, and chastened again by an awareness that the whole of human history had occurred elsewhere." Ruth and Lucille's struggle toward adulthood beautifully illuminates the price of loss and survival, and the dangerous and deep undertow of transcience.

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