The Hundred-Year House
In its hundred-year history, Laurelfield has had a variety of occupants: it’s either housed outliers of the Devohr family or an artists’ colony. As Y2K approaches, Gracie Devohr and her husband, Bruce, live there. Then Gracie’s only child, Zee, a college professor, moves in to the coach house with her husband, Doug, a writer trying to tackle his magnum opus on the life of obscure poet Edwin Parfitt. Parfitt had been a visiting artist at Laurelfield decades before. Doug is frustrated that his mother-in-law won’t let him search the house’s attic for information on Parfitt. Zee is frustrated her husband can’t just buckle down and get his book done, and she hates having to live at her old home.
Doug does eventually manage to wrangle entrance to the attic—and what he discovers is not what he expected. The house holds myriad secrets. Makkai eventually takes readers deeper into the house’s past, revealing layers of personalities, frustrations, and deceptions.
The Hundred-Year House satisfies the most in its structure, the way the plot unfolds and elements come together, just as one of its resident artist’s mosaics. Satisfying, too, are Makkai’s metaphors, which are clever, intricate and perfect. Most of the characters are not people one would want to spend much time with, but the book is enjoyable as the house eventually yields its full story.
|Page Count||352 pages|
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