The Hundred-year House

The Hundred-year House

eBook - 2014
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The acclaimed author of The Borrower returns with a dazzlingly original, mordantly witty novel about the secrets of an old-money family and their turn-of-the-century estate, Laurelfield. 'Rebecca Makkai is a writer to watch, as sneakily ambitious as she is unpretentious." 'Richard Russo Meet the Devohrs: Zee, a Marxist literary scholar who detests her parents' wealth but nevertheless finds herself living in their carriage house; Gracie, her mother, who claims she can tell your lot in life by looking at your teeth; and Bruce, her step-father, stockpiling supplies for the Y2K apocalypse and perpetually late for his tee time. Then there's Violet Devohr, Zee's great-grandmother, who they say took her own life somewhere in the vast house, and whose massive oil portrait still hangs in the dining room. Violet's portrait was known to terrify the artists who resided at the house from the 1920s to the 1950s, when it served as the Laurelfield Arts Colony'and this is exactly the period Zee's husband, Doug, is interested in. An out-of-work academic whose only hope of a future position is securing a book deal, Doug is stalled on his biography of the poet Edwin Parfitt, once in residence at the colony. All he needs to get the book back on track'besides some motivation and self-esteem'is access to the colony records, rotting away in the attic for decades. But when Doug begins to poke around where he shouldn't, he finds Gracie guards the files with a strange ferocity, raising questions about what she might be hiding. The secrets of the hundred-year house would turn everything Doug and Zee think they know about her family on its head'that is, if they were to ever uncover them. In this brilliantly conceived, ambitious, and deeply rewarding novel, Rebecca Makkai unfolds a generational saga in reverse, leading the reader back in time on a literary scavenger hunt as we seek to uncover the truth about these strange people and this mysterious house. With intelligence and humor, a daring narrative approach, and a lovingly satirical voice, Rebecca Makkai has crafted an unforgettable novel about family, fate and the incredible surprises life can offer. For readers of Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle.
Publisher: New York : Viking, 2014
ISBN: 9780698163546
Characteristics: 1 online resource


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ontherideau Apr 23, 2018

The Hundred-year House has the idle rich feel of Great Gatsby in a different time setting.

Oct 13, 2016

recommended by Nancy Pearl "charcter driven" 10/12/2016

cmlibrary_myork Dec 11, 2015

A wonderful book that exceeded my expectations. Though the book is slow to start - I was several chapters in before the mystery was introduced - the ultimate result is very satisfying. I was caught off guard in that the story takes place in reverse chronological order and over a century (despite the name of the book!) The first section alone made a wonderful book, but the additional sections did provide more closure. Highly recommended!

Apr 28, 2015

One of the most boring books I've had the displeasure to read. Plot sounded good but the characters were lame and the storyline dragged.

Apr 07, 2015

I couldn't finish it, I found myself bored, and not connecting with any of the characters; I found them mostly unlikeable.
There are too many good books out there, and not enough time to read them all, so unfortunately, I had to let this one go, unfinished, and moved on to the next one.

Nov 07, 2014

Was quite enjoying this story until I reached about half way thru the book when I started to lose interest. At this stage, I got to the point where I had a job to press on and finish the book. I found a lot of the characters actually annoyed me and I just cldn't keep track of them all.. Definitely a shame as it had such great potential..

Oct 13, 2014

I was disappointed in this book. I had chosen this book because other reviews called it "complex" and "many layered," but I wouldn't call this book that at all. It basically was a "meh" whodunnit. I couldn't find myself caring for any of the characters, which were flat. If you want a book which peels back the layers and explores hidden mysteries through decades, try Kate Atkinson or David Mitchell.

Sep 23, 2014

In many ways this is a fantastic book. The first 2 sections of the book grabbed me in and would not let go. Unfortunately, I think the novel fizzled out a bit as it moved towards its conclusion. I think on many levels it's a brilliant book. I just felt like I needed to take notes to follow everything that was going on. And the central mystery of the book--Violet's death--was not addressed clearly enough for my tastes.

But, I give it a fairly high score for how well done it was overall and would still probably recommend the book. Mostly because I'd love to have folks to discuss the book with. Maybe then I'd understand it better.

Sep 11, 2014

This book had an interesting reverse structure and a solid storyline but the characters failed to make any impression on me and the reverse order made it challenging to follow some of the character threads. Overall it was a good book but not necessarily a great reading experience for me.

Aug 30, 2014

This book definitely takes you for a ride (in more ways than one). You start off in 1999 and wind up in 1900. I was worried once I figured out that this was the format -- I was getting attached to these 1999 people (and all the characters in between), who were funny and weird, quirky, but never see them again. But in a weird way we do. Funny how history tends to repeat itself. The book was a slow start but it had just enough mystery and intrigue to keep me reading. The first two parts (1999 & 1955) were my favorites. I honestly was a bit lost during the many character perspectives of 1929. I felt like I needed a read-along guide book to keep all the characters and facts straight.

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