Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Hundred-Year House (Rebecca Makkai)

Rebecca Makkai's The Hundred-Year House is one of those rare novels that you can't wait to see what happens at the end but you never want to get there.  The book is one of the most engrossing that I've read in a very long time, and I have a feeling that it's going to a big hit when it comes out in July 2014.  As a reviewer, I was fortunate to get my hands on an early copy, and you can be sure that I'll be spreading the word about this one.

The novel is written during four completely different time periods, beginning with the end of the 20th century and going all the way back 100 years.  As the title suggests, a house (Laurelfield) plays a very significant role in the narrative, and starting with the latest generation to inhabit it is a stroke of genius.  The reader gets to have multiple "Aha!" moments, as questions raised in a later time period get satisfying answers from the previous generation.  Every single character is necessary, and together, they create a rich, fulfilling book that spans a century.

Even though The Hundred-Year House comes out in July, I strongly suggest NOT taking it on vacation with you.  Forget about sightseeing; you'll want to spend all your time reading.