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Publisher's Summary

Abigail was the last keeper of the house, the last to know the Howland family's secrets. Now, in the name of all her brothers and sisters, she must take her bitter revenge on the small-minded Southern town that shamed them, persecuted them, but could never destroy them.

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

Critic Reviews

  • Pulitzer Prize Winner, Fiction, 1965

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
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    89
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    37
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    16

Performance

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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    48
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    17
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Story

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  • Overall
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  • Mary
  • Hawaii
  • 10-20-15

I have read this book 3 times

What did you love best about The Keepers of the House?

Riveting story. Beautifully read. I think I will listen to it again one day.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Keepers of the House?

The ending was amazing.

Any additional comments?

This is my all time favorite book.

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  • Performance
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Enjoyed the story

Where does The Keepers of the House rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

In the middle, AVERAGE. Worth the time spent.

Who was your favorite character and why?

None specifically

Which scene was your favorite?

Holding off the neighbors who were set on burning down the house. She kept the house safe in the end.

Who was the most memorable character of The Keepers of the House and why?

The mother who protected the house

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Family Saga

Enjoyed up to the final fourth of the book. Then it turned very sad, though very true I imagine, and the ending was disappointing.

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Love the story but ended to soon!

I was so in to this story. the way the author describes all the details of the surrounding I feel like im right there. the only thing I didnt like was that the ending left me wondering what the hell happened! wish they could have explained the ending cuz the story was awesome.

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1965 Pulitzer Winner- decent, but staled with age

I wanted to read this novel for two reasons: it won the Pulitzer the year of my birth, and it's set in a fictional county in the deep American South during a time of racial hatred and violence. I'm sure THE KEEPERS OF THE HOUSE had quite an impact back then and the nation's posture at the time screamed for the Pulitzer to give an award to Ms. Grau for this book.

I was rather disappointed nonetheless. The novel is righteous at achieving the revenge which is its ultimate destination. Yet the revenge only occurs in the last 17 minutes, after taking 9 hours to get there; a long, long 9 hours in which I kept reaching for the stop button and had to force myself to continue listening. The characters are rather shallow, and it seems to me that Ms. Grau could have condensed the 9 hours to 4 or 5, by cutting out fluff that did nothing to further the protagonist or her story.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Generations, Family Secrets, Family Scandals

This book sounded interesting in the short summary. I usually like stories that span several generations. The book is not terribly complicated, just a bit more than many multi generation books. The book starts in the past with a love affair between Margaret,a black woman, and William, a lonely widower. All of the children have typically white characteristics.The children from Providence, the first wife, and the children from Margaret play together as young children. Bit Margaret sends her children to boarding school so they won't have do deal with being born from a black mother and white father. The children grow up, get married, have children of their own but they are unaware of deeply the past, that was hidden from them as children, will come back to haunt them and the choices they make as adults.
The narrator was easy to listen to although at times the narration was monotonous and the edits were obvious. In my opinion a book about the south should have a narrator with a southern accent.

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Disappointed

Would you try another book from Shirley Ann Grau and/or Anna Fields?

I thought the author would give the protagonist a more compassionate viewpoint toward oppressed people. But she seemed cold and close minded.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Beautiful tragedy.

So real. I grew up in The South and miss it. This book evokes the reality of Southern culture perfectly with every nuance. Makes me homesick with love and yearning along with reminders of why I left

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Delicious, warm, bittersweet, with a chilling end.

Would you listen to The Keepers of the House again? Why?

If this question means if I had the choice to make over again, yes, absolutely, and I intend to explore Grau's other works. If the question means WILL I listen to it again, no, probably not, because I rarely do... too many books and life is too short. But if I had to list books I would listen to again, this might well be one.

What did you like best about this story?

I enjoyed the slow, steady buildup. The author was careful in her use of foreshadowing... You know from the opening chapter that something cataclysmic is going to happen, but then the simple, enjoyable unfolding of what seems to be a straightforward tale lulls you into nearly forgetting. Just a spare hint dropped here and there throughout reminds you that there are debts to be settled.

Which character – as performed by Anna Fields – was your favorite?

Abigail Howland Tolliver, although her grandfather is a close second. I would like to say Margaret, but the mystery in which Grau wraps her makes that impossible.

Who was the most memorable character of The Keepers of the House and why?

Two: Abigail the granddaughter, and Margaret. You are able to know Abigail thoroughly, outside and in, by the last chapter. Margaret, though, is memorable for her enigmatic stoicism. We see her capacity for love only briefly, as Abigail glimpses it once through a child's eyes.

Any additional comments?

With this book I realized for the first time what an exceptional narrator Anna Fields is. I have enjoyed her narration before without being fully aware of how much her performance adds to the totality of the work. I will now seek her out.

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  • Saguaro59
  • Tucson, AZ, United States
  • 11-03-14

How is it I had never heard of this book?!

What an amazing story and beautiful narration. Completely captures a time and place. This book won the Pulitzer prize in 1965. Stunning descriptions of the south, civil rights, the changing of family values and norms. Absolutely a must-listen.