In Nicole Krauss's latest 'novel' she combines 8 short stories, of four people/families into a timeline of ownership. These people range from a writer haunted by the desk's previous owners, an antique dealer and his children, a widower who has always been haunted by his late wifes past and a man trying to communicate with his distant son.
I love Nichole Krauss, well, at least I love The History of Love. Great House felt forced to me. I had known I was getting into a collection of short stories, and that presumably there would be a lot of loss and pain being dealt with between it's yellow hard cover. However I wasn't prepared for how loosely everything came together. The stories themselves are all pretty good. I wasn't a fan the two All Rise stories, but I think that had more to do with being generally uninterested in the character than anything else. I would have actually loved to see a whole novel, and a real novel, not short stories, about the Weisz family. They were slightly odd, but really interesting and just the type of family I'd love to see Krauss tackle.
One thing that Krauss can never be faulted for is her use of the English Language. Her poetic roots are always obvious, but not imposing. It's easy to get lost in her words, and in turn they like to hang around, tugging on heartstrings and planting seeds of ideas. For me, the writing was the only reason I ended up finishing Great Houses. In fact, i had made it through all of part 1 before getting frustrated with the entire collection and setting it down for two months.
Overall, not one of my favorite reads of the year, and I'm sure my high expectations didn't help.
Have you read Great House, or anything else by Nicole Krauss? What did you think of it?