Shirley Ann Grau is a major American author whose works are often set in New Orleans and Louisiana's Creole region. She often reflects the isolated bayous and their French-speaking residents, but her fiction is equally at home with the fiercely independent people of small Southern towns or the sophisticated life of the New Orleans' upper class. The Keepers of the House won her the Pulitzer Prize in 1965.
©1964 Shirley Ann Grau; (P)1996 Blackstone Audiobooks
"Shirley Ann Grau is one of those rare writers who create a world, draw the reader into it, and make him somehow happy there, no matter what goes on....One comes to the novel's end with a sense of loss, and leaves that world with reluctance." (Newsweek)
This book was a little slow at first and, at times, my attention wandered during the lengthy descriptions of scenery. However, the story does draw you in. It is not formulaic or predictable. The characters are complex and mysterious. The end was a bit unsatisfying only because I really wanted to know more. Finally, the book is read really, really well.
I'm working my way through Pulitzer Prize winners for fiction. The exceptional narrator contributes much to the enjoyment of this fascinating story of the deep south spanning three generations. The different voices were so distinct that there seemed to be more than one reader. Told from several characters' perspectives, the story unfolded seamlessly with an unexpected climax. This is one of the best audiobooks I've listened to (out of about 40). My dog appreciated it too, as I stretched out my listening time as long as possible on our walks.
Once at the end, the entire story made sense and turned out to be very good. The description of the scenery is so long that the effect on the character is lost and become very boring, especially on Margaret. After Margaret, the rest was interesting that I had wished the author had written a bit more of Margaret instead of ending her the first night she come to live with William Howland. There were certain instance where I did not understand Abigail's point of view. The explanations were brief and vague. I gave the book a five star because I thought the narrator had the perfect voice for this story.
I believe a reviewer should finish a book before submitting a review. What do you think?
This book has kept me thinking for three days now after finishing the story. What I'm thinking about is exactly how I feel about this book. And I'm just not sure. There were some parts of this book that were really quite amazing and worthwhile and yet overall I just couldn't warm to the book. As I write this review perhaps I'm figuring it out, the crux of it for me is the word warmth. I just couldn't warm to even one character, they were all wooden somehow. Although Ms. Grau gives the listener/reader several complex interesting characters who were in many ways well fleshed out, yet not one I can think of showed very much humanity or compassion, just no warmth. Grandfather William was distant, quiet, firm and efficient. The main character Abigail (William's granddaughter) is at times strong and yet submissive, angry and self serving; Abigail's mother is distant and depressed. Margaret (William's second partner, his first wife died early in their marriage)is the most interesting character; she is silent and strong yet she is very removed while always present. Abigail's husband John is just plainly a self serving ass. Then I ask myself is it essential for the characters in this book to have exhibited warmth? Of course the answer is no, not every character must be warm and fuzzy. However most or at least some people do show that they care for others especially within their family, so I guess I just couldn't totally buy it the way it was served up in this book. The narrator did a wonderful job narrating. So this one sure is an interesting mix.
WOW! I don't know how I have missed this Pulitzer prize winner. It reminds me of The Help, To Kill a Mockingbird, Fried Green Tomatoes and Gone With the Wind all at once. It has elements of racism, society in the 1960's small Southern town, forbidden love, oppression of women. The characters are unforgettable, very well developed. I have known a few people like those in the book. Do they exist only in the South? Why the story about the moonshine still? How did William feel about women? What does Margaret think about anything? And how about all the ancestral spirits? Please, Audible, get some more books by Mrs. Grau.
Really couldn't get into this one. At times it was just the story and others it was just the monotone voice of the narrator.
Unfortunately didn't finish this one.
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