Yesterday I started reading Marilynne Robinson’s debut novel, Housekeeping. The novel is the story of Ruth and her sister, Lucille, as they’re raised first by their grandmother, then her sister-in-laws, then by Sylvie, their eccentric aunt. According to the back cover,
Ruth and Lucille’s struggle toward adulthood beautifully illuminates the price of loss and survival, and the dangerous and deep undertow of transience.
While reading Housekeeping I’ve learned that this is a book to read slowly. This book is lyrical, so well-written. I’ve been keeping a pencil with me every time I continue the story because of the beautiful passages I want to go back to later on. Like this passage,
If heaven was to be this world plunged of disaster and nuisance, if immortality was to be this life held in poise and arrest, and if this world purged and this life unconsuming could be thought of as world and life restored to their proper natures, it is no wonder that five serene, eventless years lulled my grandmother into forgetting what she should never have forgotten.
Originally published in 1980, Housekeeping was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 1982. It didn’t win though Robinson later won the Pulitzer Prize in 2005 for her second novel, Gilead.