Enjoy millions of ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, and more, with a free trial

Only $11.99/month after trial. Cancel anytime.

Housekeeping: A Novel
Housekeeping: A Novel
Housekeeping: A Novel
Audiobook5 hours

Housekeeping: A Novel

Written by Marilynne Robinson

Narrated by Becket Royce

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars



About this audiobook

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, their eccentric and remote aunt.

The family house is in the small Far West town of Fingerbone set on a glacial lake, 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 transience.

A Macmillan Audio production.

Release dateAug 1, 2005
Housekeeping: A Novel

Reviews for Housekeeping

Rating: 4.111111111111111 out of 5 stars

135 ratings110 reviews

What did you think?

Tap to rate

Review must be at least 10 words

  • Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
    Just couldn't love it. Much of what happens remains opaque to me. Shame, I thought it was going to be a lost classic, but it was hard going and not especially rewarding.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    I've not read anything by Marilynne Robinson, and I realised early on when reading Housekeeping that's she's an author whose prose cannot be rushed. Hurry your way through her writing and you'll miss the complete point of it - this is a book where the writing is a journey and not a destination.As such, I found Housekeeping to be not a particularly plot-driven book. The gist of the story is that two young girls find themselves living in a town that's more of a pass-through than a destination following the death of their mother. When their grandmother dies fairly soon too, an unknown aunt comes back to the town to take care of them. She's well-intentioned but a drifter at heart, who has become unused to the normalcy of living in a house and the usual rules of normal living that the the other townspeople adhere to. At its heart it's a book of the differing effects of loss and of the changing dynamics in family relationships over time. It raises the question of what really matters, whether living by the accepted standards of society is the necessary marker for love and responsible guardianship, or whether pure love without restrictions and expectations is the truest and most honest love of all.It's a book of subtlety rather than drama, and I'm a little torn by my overall impression of it. I enjoyed it, and certainly plan to get to Gilead at some point, but part of me wonders if it's a little too quiet overall. However, the more I think about it, the more I feel that the slow layers of this book are really rather brilliant, and that its quiet execution is precisely its genius lies.3.5 stars - enjoyable, but in a pondering rather than earth-shattering way.
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    Poetic and depressing. Not the sort of book I enjoy.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    Atmospheric, full of dreamy descriptions, and a finalist for the Pulitzer. As young girls, Ruth and her sister are abandoned at their grandmother's house by their mother, Helen, who then drives her car off a cliff into the local lake. This is the same lake that took the life of Helen's father, who was aboard a train that drove off a local bridge into the water years earlier. The grandmother takes care of the sisters in a rather distant but caring way until she dies, and then two elderly great-aunts arrive and pick up where she left off. They don't quite know what to do with the girls either, and eventually they track down Helen's sister, Sylvie, to see if she will come and live with the girls. Sylvie is a tramp (of the train-hitching type), and while she does her best, she is very strange and brings the eyes of local officials on to their little family. Ruth is very much like Sylvie, ill at ease with the regular world, although sister Lucille makes every effort to be "normal". Not as engaging as Robinson's "Gilead", which I adored, but so well-written that the extensive descriptions and day-dreaming still pull the reader along to the, to me, surprising and satisfying conclusion. Highly recommended.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    This novel is full of rich descriptions of setting with not much attention to plot or action. The language used is enjoyable, but slow.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    An utterly compelling read, beautifully written: I want to say 'poetic', but I tend to abandon books of that description, and I loved this - so let's just say gorgeous prose.Narrator Ruthie describes life on the edge of a lake in Idaho. After a city upbringing with her mother, she and sister Lucille are dropped off with their grandma. Ultimately they find themselves cared for by unstable aunt Sylvie; the watery environs are a constant theme (floods; strange boat trips; thoughts of the two family members who lost their lives to the lake.) Meanwhile the dysfunctional family are at odds with society as Sylvie turns grandma's home into a hoarder's paradise and the girls play truant by the lake. Ultimately the exclusive friendship of the two erodes as Lucille seeks a conventional teenage life elsewhere, while Ruthie allies herself with Sylvie...It' a weird read; I read and enjoyed Robinson's 'Home' but this is a much more unusual and dreamy work. I can't imagine being able to write like this- it's fabulous!