'Surprise is part of the pleasure of this book, and I won't tell the story of its several failing and successful quests. Let me just say that Ludmilla and the Reader, stranded by the publishers of Calvino and Bazakbal, run across eight more novels of different origins - Japan, Latin America, Belgium, Ireland and three imaginary countries -and that all of these novels are interrupted for one reason or another: a further error of binding, suicide of the author, theft of the book, a sudden arrest.'
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 transience.
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