Housekeeping: A Novel
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.
This sad and quirky movie by Bill Forsyth (Local Hero), set in the 1950s, is a faithful adaptation of Marilynne Robinson’s luminous book. Two orphaned girls (newcomers Sara Walker and Andrea Burchill) fall in love with their happy-go-lucky Aunt Sylvie (Christine Lahti) when she comes to live with them. However, the girls discover their quintessentially eccentric aunt is more crazy than idiosyncratic. She has a lifetime supply of newspapers and tin cans, and she doesn’t like to turn the lights on in the house. As all crazy aunts are likely to have, she also…