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The Hundred-Year House

Narrated by: Jen Tullock
Length: 8 hrs and 37 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (108 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Meet the Devohrs: Zee, a Marxist literary scholar who detests her parents' wealth but nevertheless finds herself living in their carriage house; Gracie, her mother, who claims she can tell your lot in life by looking at your teeth; and Bruce, her step-father, stockpiling supplies for the Y2K apocalypse and perpetually late for his tee time. Then there's Violet Devohr, Zee's great-grandmother, who they say took her own life somewhere in the vast house, and whose massive oil portrait still hangs in the dining room.

Violet's portrait was known to terrify the artists who resided at the house from the 1920s to the 1950s, when it served as the Laurelfield Arts Colony - and this is exactly the period Zee's husband, Doug, is interested in. An out-of-work academic whose only hope of a future position is securing a book deal, Doug is stalled on his biography of the poet Edwin Parfitt, once in residence at the colony. All he needs to get the book back on track - besides some motivation and self-esteem - is access to the colony records, rotting away in the attic for decades. But when Doug begins to poke around where he shouldn't, he finds Gracie guards the files with a strange ferocity, raising questions about what she might be hiding. The secrets of the hundred-year house would turn everything Doug and Zee think they know about her family on its head - that is, if they were to ever uncover them.

In this brilliantly conceived, ambitious, and deeply rewarding novel, Rebecca Makkai unfolds a generational saga in reverse, leading the listener back in time on a literary scavenger hunt as we seek to uncover the truth about these strange people and this mysterious house. With intelligence and humor, a daring narrative approach, and a lovingly satirical voice, Rebecca Makkai has crafted an unforgettable novel about family, fate, and the incredible surprises life can offer.

©2014 Rebecca Makkai (P)2014 Penguin Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Tammy
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • 04-29-17

Great first half, dreary second half

The first half of the story was on point and very intriguing. The second half left a lot to be desirable, it just didn't connect well to the first half at all. The vocal performance was fantastic though.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Needs Untangling

Fascinating, listened to it three times through to untangle it all. should that be necessary?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Still thinking about it, weeks later.

Would you listen to The Hundred-Year House again? Why?

I absolutely would. Knowing the full story, I'd like to revisit the parts I thought were about one thing, but were really about something else. It's a rich story with characters you come to love, flaws and all. There is a sweetness and a satisfaction to the wrap up.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Hmmmm

What made the experience of listening to The Hundred-Year House the most enjoyable?

I enjoyed the "mystery" of the house and wondering exactly "who" the characters were.

Would you recommend The Hundred-Year House to your friends? Why or why not?

If the story had stuck with just the 2 most recent generations I think I would have enjoyed it more. When it went back to the earliest years of the house I honestly lost interest and even got a little confused.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I laughed out loud frequently over some of the comments made by some of the characters!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Beth Anne
  • Philadelphia, PA, United States
  • 12-09-14

Great Book Immediately Placed On My ReRead Pile

i love how this novel jumped back in time to four generations of inhabitants of the hundred-year house. starting in the "now" and going back with so many secrets intertwining all three generations. every section answers questions, gives you more questions, and wraps you up in the secrets and lies and intensity of the house.

i loved the character development, even in the shortest sections -- i loved the interactions between the artists, the owners, the caretakers and the house itself. the house was the main character (obviously) and held all the secrets in its walls and under it's soil and in every part of it.

would read again.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Two novels in one.

Very powerful, funny and engaging and well-performed. The modern characters fade behind the vivid lives of the artists who take over the story just when you think it is ending.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Melinda
  • Prince George, BC, Canada
  • 05-19-19

Inventive and well written, but not quite what I was looking for

I really enjoyed the first part of this book, but enjoyed the second two parts a bit less. I'm still going to give it 3 stars because I think it's inventive and well written. It's cleverly put together, but for some reason I just preferred the 1999 storyline to the earlier bits (the book goes in reverse chronological order). I can't really say too much more about the plot without spoiling it, so I won't.

The characters were kind of unlikable, but that didn't bother me, because they were pretty interesting (the ones in 1999, anyway). I got a particular kick out of the struggling academic who had resorted to secretly being a ghost writer for a Babysitters' Club style pre-teen book series. Hilarious!

I liked The Borrower, and I think this book is better. It just wasn't quite what I was looking for, but that's not the author's fault.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

It's no THE BELIEVERS

The characters are complex, per usual, and the relationships and events fraught with tension but you simply don't care much about anybody in the book.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Rebecca
  • Plainfield, VT, United States
  • 09-07-14

So what............

I really wanted to like this book, but i really couldnt get into it.
I may come back to it at a later date and relisten, but for now I cant recommend it.