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Great House by Nicole Krauss
At the center of Great House is a large desk with many drawers, and the four people for whom the desk has played an important role in their lives. The story is narrated by Nadia, a New York novelist who acquired the desk from a Chilean poet who became one of the disappeared on a visit to his homeland; an unnamed Israeli widower at odds with his past and his estranged son; Arthur, the husband of a writer whose flight from Nazi persecution left her emotionally hardened; and Isabel, a graduate student in love with the son of an antiques dealer who recovers items plundered by the Nazis. The novel moves back and forth in time and between narrators, telling their stories of loss and secrets and the desk that links them all together. Nicole Krauss' novel has received a National Book Award nomination and positive reviews with the New York Times saying, "Krauss has taken great risks in dispensing with the whimsy and humor that she summoned for her tragic vision in The History of Love. Here she gives us her tragic vision pure. It is a high-wire performance, only the wire has been replaced by an exposed nerve, and you hold your breath, and she does not fall.