Housekeeping

Marilynne Robinson, Author, Becket Royce, Read by
Marilynne Robinson, Author, Becket Royce, Read by , read by Becket Royce. Audio Renaissance $29.95 (0p) ISBN 978-1-59397-786-3
Reviewed on: 10/03/2005
Release date: 08/01/2005
Paperback - 219 pages - 978-0-374-52518-7
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-553-20575-6
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-553-24472-4
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-553-26238-4
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-553-27872-9
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-0-553-34663-3
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-312-42409-1
Paperback - 219 pages - 978-0-571-23008-2
Hardcover - 219 pages - 978-0-374-17313-5
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-1-250-06065-5
Compact Disc - 978-0-7927-3788-9
Compact Disc - 978-0-7927-3789-6
Compact Disc - 978-0-7927-3843-5
Open Ebook - 232 pages - 978-1-4299-5446-4
Hardcover - 224 pages - 978-0-571-16402-8
Hardcover - 219 pages - 978-0-00-639374-0
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-571-32275-6
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Their lives spun off the tilting world like thread off a spindle," says Ruthie, the novel's narrator. The same may be said of Becket Royce's subtle, low-keyed reading. The interwoven themes of loss and love, longing and loneliness—"the wanting never subsided"—require a cool, almost impersonal touch. Royce narrates natural and manmade catastrophe and ruin as the author offers them: with a sort of watery vagueness engulfing extraordinary events. Occasionally this leads Royce to sound sleepy or to glide over humor. But she expresses Ruthie's story without any irksome effort to sound childlike, and she avoids the pitfall of dramatizing other characters, such as the awkward sheriff, the whispery insubstantiality of Aunt Sylvie or the ladies bearing casseroles to lure Ruthie away from Aunt Sylvie and into their concept of normality. Originally published in 1980 and filmed in 1987, Housekeeping is finally on audio because of Robinson's new Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Gilead . The novel holds up remarkably and painfully well, and the language remains searching and sonorous. Anatole Broyard wrote back then: "Here is a first novel that sounds as if the author has been treasuring it up all her life...." And because the author's rhythms, images and diction are so original and dense, this audio is a treasure for listeners who have or haven't read the book. Based on the Picador paperback. (Aug.)

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