Wednesday, 14 September 2011

And then there was a house

In the past few months I have read three works of fiction whose stories evolved around imposing houses. All highly recommended, here they are:

The Little Stranger
By Sarah Waters

Hundreds Hall is the crumbling Georgian house at the heart of this unsettling story. It is the home of the Ayreses, mother, son and daughter who struggle to keep up with a changing society and the financial difficulties resulting from the Great War. Fascinated by both the house and its inhabitants, Dr Faraday becomes increasingly involved with life at Hundreds, a house that seems to have a life of its own.

We Are All Made of Glue
By Marina Lewycka

Canaan House, a decrepit mansion in North London, is at the centre of this charming novel. It is the home of Mrs Naomi Saphiro, an old lady who lives with dozens of cats and who strikes up an unlikely friendship with neighbour Georgie Sinclair, a lonely mother of two. When Mrs Saphiro ends up at the hospital, a war breaks out among estate agents to seize possession of the house and Georgie finds herself involved.

Bel Canto
By Ann Patchett

The vice presidential mansion in a South American country is the setting of this novel. In order to attract investors from abroad, a birthday party is organized for an important Japanese industrialist. That’s how eminent politicians, rich businessmen and a world-renowned soprano come to be together and held hostage by a group of armed men. During the forced co-habitation, friendships and relationships are formed. Can something that started with violence end in peace?

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