Thursday, February 18, 2016

Book Review-Hundred Year House

photoI enjoy listening to audio books while I'm doing other things.  Sometimes I search for a specific book, but I often just peruse the offerings on our Overdrive site.  This time I found an interesting book called The Hundred Year House.
The book opens in 1999 at the estate of the Devohrs, Laurelfield, just outside of Chicago.  The Devohrs are from Canada, and built this house 100 years ago.  Zee is a Marxist literary scholar working at a local college, her husband, Doug, is currently out of work, trying to write a biography of the poet Edwin Parfitt so he can get a job in academia.  They are living in the carriage house on the estate.  Zee's mother, Gracie is very opinionated.  Her husband Bruce, Zee's stepfather, is sure Y2K will be the end of civilitation as we know it.  Things were going along as well as could be expected until Bruce's son and daughter-in-law move into the carriage house, which puts additional strain on Zee and Doug's marriage.  Violet Devohrs, long dead by suicide, is thought to haunt the house.
Laurelfield was once an artist colony, one at which Edwin Parfitt stayed, so Doug wants to see the archives for his research.  Grace refuses, so Doug sneaks up.  He finds out more than he bargained for.
We flash back to the late 50's, to when Grace and her first husband moved to the house.  This section answers some of the questions raised in the first, but brings up new questions.
The third part of the book takes place in the late 1920's where we meet some of the artists living at Laurelfield.
The final part describes the original Devohrs' building of the house.
The story is told backwards, which makes for an interesting reading experience.  I had to go back to the first part and reread parts to be sure I had everything straight at the end.  It was a very interesting book, with satisfying plot twists and moments of suspense. 

The Hundred-Year House
The Hundred-Year House
By Makkai, Rebecca
2014-07 - Viking
9780525426684 Check Our Catalog
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

Other books by the same author.

The Borrower
The Borrower
By Makkai, Rebecca
2011-09 - Thorndike Press
9781410440815 Check Our Catalog
In this delightful, funny, and moving first novel, a librarian and a young boy obsessed with reading take to the road. The odd pair embarks on a crazy road trip from Missouri to Vermont, with ferrets, an inconvenient boyfriend, and an upsetting family history thrown in their path. …More

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9781632863577 Check Our Catalog

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Bellweather Rhapsody
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9780544129917 Check Our Catalog
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