“To crave and to have are as like as a thing and its shadow.”
So I wasn’t crazy about the opening paragraph in Housekeeping, as I explained recently.
But as I mentioned in that same post, Marilynne Robinson’s writing style is much less choppy, much more poetic, throughout the rest of the book.
Almost all the characters in Housekeeping have a great sense of loneliness and longing. It’s a melancholy novel.
Here’s one of the more beautifully written, poetic passages from the novel:
“To crave and to have are as like as a thing and its shadow. For when does a berry break upon the tongue as sweetly as when one longs to taste it, and when is the taste refracted into so many hues and savors of ripeness and earth, and when do our senses know any thing so utterly as when we lack it? And here again is a foreshadowing — the world will be made whole. For to wish for a hand on one’s hair is all but to feel it. So whatever we may lose, very craving gives it back to us again.”
Passages like that are the reason I keep reading Housekeeping.
If I’m honest, I feel like it’s a slightly dull novel. But I can appreciate Marilynne Robinson’s natural gift with words.
More to come on Housekeeping, and I’ll be reviewing the novel (hopefully) next week.