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Extended Audio Sample Housekeeping: A Novel Audiobook, by Marilynne Robinson Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (14,408 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Marilynne Robinson Narrator: Becket Royce Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2005 ISBN: 9781593978419
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An unabridged audio edition of this classic work on the 25th anniversary of its first publication
A modern classic, housekeeping is the story of Ruth and her younger sister, Lucille, who grow up haphazardly, first under the care of their competent grandmother, then of two comically bumbling great-aunts, and finally of Sylvie, their eccentric and remote aunt. The family house is in the small Far West town of Fingerbone set on a glacial lake, the same lake where their grandfather died in a spectacular train wreck, and their mother drove off a cliff to her death. It is a town "chastened by an outsized landscape and extravagant weather, and chastened again by an awareness that the whole of human history had occurred elsewhere." Ruth and Lucille's struggle toward adulthood beautifully illuminates the price of loss and survival, and the dangerous and deep undertow of transience.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “So precise, so distilled, so beautiful that one doesn’t want to miss any pleasure it might yield.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “So precise, so distilled, so beautiful that one doesn't want to miss any pleasure it might yield. Le Anne Schreiber, The New York Times Book Review

  • Here's a first novel that sounds as if the author has been treasuring it up all her life...You can feel in the book a gathering voluptuous release of confidence, a delighted surprise at the unexpected capacities of language, a close, careful fondness for people that we thought only saints felt. Anatole Broyard, The New York Times
  • I found myself reading slowly, than more slowly—this is not a novel to be hurried through, for every sentence is a delight. Doris Lessing

  • Housekeeping speaks eloquently of displacement, loss, and longing. Becket Royce has a friendly, inviting voice well-suited to Ruth’s long and thoughtful narrations of the story, though she’s equally good at creating the voices of Sylvie and Lucille, as well as incidental characters. Robinson’s use of language is often challenging and always beautiful; some sentences brim with meaning and metaphoric potential…But the rewards of listening slowly or rereading provocative passages are worth it.”

    AudioFile

  • “Extraordinary…Marilynne Robinson uses the language so exquisitely…Every sentence is a wonderful sentence, made just right…Housekeeping proves that fine fiction is still being written.”

    Washington Post Book World

  • “A stunningly moving story about a devastated family…Robinson infuses the tale with offbeat humor, but the enduring impact of this book lies in its pervasive understanding of tragedy.”

    People

  • “Robinson’s ability to show us the power of unconventional love and the lasting, although invisible, bonds between members of such an eccentric and apparently feckless family makes us smile with pleasure throughout the novel.”

    Miami Herald

  • Housekeeping is a haunting dream of a story told in a language as sharp and clear as light and air and water.”

    Walker Percy, New York Times bestselling author

  • “The richness and variety and the peculiarity of tone Marilynne Robinson sustains are masterful; I found the characters absorbing and disturbing.”

    Mary Gordon, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Robinson literally seems to stretch her characters with insight she must have stockpiled for years…What Ruth says of Sylvie is true of Robinson: ‘She undertook the most ordinary things’ and ‘made them seem…remarkable.’”

    Ms. Magazine

  • Winner of the 1982 PEN/Ernest Hemingway Foundation Award
  • A 1982 New York Times Best Book for Fiction
  • A 1982 Pulitzer Prize Finalist for Fiction
  • A 1982 PEN/Faulkner Award Finalist
  • One of Time Magazine's Best 100 English-Language Novels from 1923–2005
  • Among shortlisted titles for Pulitzer Prize - Finalist, 1982
  • Nominated for Ernest Hemingway Foundation Award - Nominee, 1982

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Christina | 2/14/2014

    " This book is profoundly eloquent and poignantly illustrative. The emotional landscape of Finger Bone is painted hauntingly, and the story is completely captivating. However, although the story is penetrating, the conclusion left something to be desired for me. It is still well worth a read by my deduction. I tried reading Robinson's 2 other fictional tales subsequently, but found them dry, tedious, and challenging to get through, which was disappointing given the eloquence of her first book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sharon | 2/10/2014

    " This is not so much a novel as a very long prose poem on the beauty of lakes, of flooding, of leaves rustling around the corners of houses, of sorrow, of surfaces and reflections and all the many forms water and loneliness can take. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Julie | 2/2/2014

    " Amazing, incredible. More like a poem, or a song, than a novel. Marilynne Robinson writes like a motherfucker, or an alien. No one had written a book before like this and no one's written one since. Holey moley. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Matthew Peck | 1/19/2014

    " I'll say it up front: Marilynne Robinson's 'Housekeeping' contains some of the most beautiful prose I've read. Ever. The previous owner of my paperback copy left dog-eared pages interspersed throughout its 219 page. Normally this would annoy the heck out of me, but I soon came to recognize the folded corners as a sign that I was about to encounter another stunning lyrical/philosophical meditation - on memory, isolation, or the passage of time - neatly nestled between pages of plot and dialogue. Robinson knows how to use words economically and carefully, too, and it's magical. This book has been looming on my to-read list for years. I look forward to reading her other two (only two?). "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 June | 1/17/2014

    " Beautifully written, but sad. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steve | 1/11/2014

    " Not sure what it all meant, but the writing was beautiful. Thousands of beautiful sentences. A dreamy, sad story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tim | 1/8/2014

    " Don't know what to think about this book, but can't stop thinking about it. Patience required. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Shari | 12/12/2013

    " A depressing read about two sisters orphaned by mother's suicide. First grandmother cares for them. Then two elderly great aunts and finally a confused aunt, the mother's sister. The aunt does not do an adequate job taking care of herself. So naturally, caring for two girls is a disaster. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Marikka | 12/11/2013

    " Definitely a somber, pensive read, which I don't necessarily mind. Gilead was much more digestible for some reason though... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Janet | 12/8/2013

    " the title of the book is funny! The woman is a hoarder who keeps newspapers and tin cans stashed to the ceiling! About two girls taken care of by an aunt after their mother died. I would've rated it higher, but it was slow going. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary Travers | 11/17/2013

    " This is one of my favorite books. The lyrical language, the characters, the place. It is, for more, essential. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kripa | 11/6/2013

    " Housekeeping is a wonderful novel, with language a pure as the bright morning sun. It is unlike any other book I have read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nicholas Good | 7/24/2013

    " Wonderful writing. Every sentence is perfect and to be savored. The books recounts the wistful melancholic journey of an eccentric family drifting further and further from the norms of conventional society. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rhonda Sarantis | 12/7/2012

    " A fascinating story of the fragile separation between mental illness and mental health. It sadly identifies the lack of compassion that has been present historically. Shows how slippery the slope of maintaining a healthy family life can be for those who struggle with this disorder. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Anne Jennen | 5/25/2012

    " I did not care for the plot but the writting was excellent. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Matt | 3/21/2012

    " One of the most beautiful and evocative books I've ever read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gail Smith | 9/15/2011

    " One of my all-time favorites. Beautiful language, sad and funny in turn. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jpe90272 | 7/1/2011

    " Robinson's writing style is effective and often beautiful, but I did like her novel Gilead better. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brianna | 5/25/2011

    " This book is full of religious allusions, and its writing is really dense, but also masterful and beautiful. It was kind of scary how much I identified with its characters and its story line. It's about outcasts, and society, individualism, conformity, religion, life, and death. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Drew | 5/24/2011

    " Depressing story, difficult writing style "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jonellebeth | 5/15/2011

    " I didn't really love this book but I loved the discussion we had at book club. However, I really loved the writing. Each sentence was beautiful-I'm not kidding. I loved the words but disliked the sad story they told. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mark | 5/15/2011

    " This was a problematic read for me. For about three-quarters of the way, I found it one of the most boring books I've ever read. But about 40 pages to the end, the plot finally justified the ornate prose style and I found the ending beautiful and moving. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ctb | 5/7/2011

    " My third favorite of her three novels. Too metaphysical for my shallow head. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Julie | 5/4/2011

    " I thought this would be better. The prose is delightful but the characters don't seem quirky, they seem depressed. I may read it again to see what I missed... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Gooby | 4/22/2011

    " A little self-consciously whimsical for my taste. "Fingerbone?" Really now. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pauline | 4/14/2011

    " The Observer lists this as one of the hundred best novels ever. I can quite see why. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andria.m.olson | 4/1/2011

    " Definitely a ton ten on my list "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laura | 3/30/2011

    " Beautifully written story, but often stark and depressing. "

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About the Author
Author Marilynne Robinson

Marilynne Robinson is the author of the novels Home, Gilead (winner of the Pulitzer Prize), and Housekeeping, and four books of nonfiction, When I Was a Child I Read Books, Mother Country, The Death of Adam, and Absence of Mind. She teaches at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

About the Narrator

Becket Royce is an accomplished actor whose television credits include I’ll Be Home for Christmas, The Kennedys of Massachusetts, As the World Turns, One Life to Live, and numerous commercials. She has performed onstage in New York and regionally in the plays The Male Animal, Macbeth, and many others.