The Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities at Bard College
The Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities at Bard College

About the Book

About the Book 

About the Book 

Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson



“Memory is the sense of loss, and loss pulls us after it.” 

- Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping



The book chosen for Bard's Big Read program, Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson, is a modern classic. Published in 1980, the book was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

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.

Read more about the book here

The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment of the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, designed to revitalize the role of literature in American culture. Learn more here.