I feel like I’m going against the grain on this one, but I’m going to have to say I wasn’t that impressed with Hundred-Year House by Rebecca Makkai. I went into it with high expectations, but overall felt it was unevenly written.
There was a lot about Hundred-Year House that should have made me love it. It’s about an English professor who moves into the coach house of her family estate, which used to be an artists’ colony. It should come as no surprise that dark family secrets come to light. For me, this sounds like a recipe for success.
But I just found the writing so uneven. The present day portions veered to the excruciating, especially when dealing with the relationship between the protagonist and her husband. The middle section, which focused on the period in which the estate was a artists’ colony were the most convincing. Her Makkai got character motivations and influences right, and the story was interesting rather than trite. The final section left little mark on me either way.
I hope my assessment doesn’t sound too harsh, as I know there are many of you out there who thoroughly enjoyed Hundred-Year House. Let me know if you liked it and I will leave a link to your review here.
I did enjoy it but that may be because I’m a sucker for farce – all those cross-purpose misunderstandings in the first section. Thanks for the invitation to provide a link – here’s my review: http://tinyurl.com/mn66d3d If you visit you’ll see that the jackets are very different!
I think it was your review that made me want to read it! Ha Ha! And great jacket too.
Oh dear! Now I feel guilty. Thanks for the link, Tanya.
Don’t feel guilty. Lots of bloggers recommended it, and in theory it sounded like a great book for me.
A pity it wasn’t so good. I read The Borrower by Makkai a few years ago and really enjoyed that. Not sure now that I should read this one.
Honestly Judith, I’m the only one who didn’t seem to like it. Read other reviews before you make a decision.
Aww. I enjoyed this one too. I also heard Makkai speak before I read it but I didn’t enjoy it enough to write more than a mini-review for it. I did think that the structure was absolutely brilliant though. 🙂
Seriously, I’m starting to think i wasn’t in the right mood for it. Everybody loved it but me. I just thought the writing was uneven, but maybe it was my reading that was uneven!
Sigh, okay…I read The Borrower by Makkai a few years ago – the beginning was fantastic but quickly, very quickly, fizzled into the downright, well, stupid, in my opinion. The premise of this one however sounded like something I should see if I could give her another try. Now I’m not so sure, but at the very least I’ll push it further down the TBR pile for now. (Penny)
Remember, lots of people really liked this book. On the other hand, you and i tend to agree on books. Sigh.
This one has been on my to-read list. I often find that books that have a past plot/period part and a modern day one tend to wind up as per your comment. The past-set narrative is almost always more engaging. Hmmm.