NYS WRITERS INSTITUTE
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NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST FOR THE NOVEL,
GREAT HOUSE (2010)
NYS Writers Institute, September 22, 2011
4:15 p.m. Seminar | Assembly Hall, Campus Center
8:00 p.m. Reading | Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center
Nicole Krauss, National Book Award Finalist for the novel, Great House (2011), and author of the New York Times bestselling novel, The History of Love (2005), will read from her work on Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 8:00 p.m. in Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center, on the University at Albany’s uptown campus. Earlier that day at 4:15 p.m., the author will present an informal seminar in the Assembly Hall, Campus Center, on the uptown campus. The events are sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute, and are free and open to the public.
Nicole Krauss, prize-winning novelist, is the author most recently of Great House (2010), a finalist for the National Book Award in Fiction. The novel is composed of interlinked tales about a massive writing desk and its various owners as they cope with the tragedies and upheavals of the twentieth century.
Great House begins with the story of a reclusive American novelist who, for twenty-five years, has been writing at the desk she inherited from a former boyfriend, a Chilean poet subsequently arrested and presumably killed by Pinochet’s secret police; one day a girl claiming to be the poet’s daughter arrives to take it away, sending the writer’s life reeling. Across the ocean, in the leafy suburbs of London, a man caring for his dying wife discovers, among her papers, a lock of hair that unravels a terrible secret. In Jerusalem, an antiques dealer slowly reassembles his father’s study, plundered by the Nazis in Budapest in 1944, scouring the world for the final piece—his writing desk.
Derek Thompson of The Atlantic, who named Great House the “Best Book of 2010,” said, “Imagine a surprising, breathtaking panorama, captured in four adjacent Polaroids developing at different speeds that only reveal the full view at the last moment, and you have a feel for the patient mastery of Krauss’s achievement.” Joan Frank of the San Francisco Chronicle said, “Every page vibrates with the tension of
something unsolvable insisting on being solved…Krauss’s sentences are so beautiful, rendered in such simple, clear language, I had to stop to reread many. Though they often describe inchoate anguish, their clarity and precision exhilarate.”
Krauss’s previous novels include the New York Times bestseller, The History of Love (2005), and Man Walks into a Room (2002), a finalist for the L. A. Times First Fiction Prize. A selection of The Today Show Book Club, The History of Love tells the story of Leo Gursky, a wisecracking, elderly Jewish locksmith who lives on the Lower East Side. Sixty years earlier, in Poland, Gursky had written a novel, and had entrusted it to a friend whom, Gursky assumed, had perished in the Holocaust. One day, however, the novel turns up in Spanish, having been published in Chile under his friend’s name. Writing in the Toronto Globe and Mail, Candice Fertile said, “Nothing in this novel is a mere verbal pirouette. The authenticity of the humour contrasted with the sadness is extraordinarily moving. Krauss is the real thing; The History of Love is a novel to be read and reread.”
Krauss’s first novel, which she published at the age of 27, was Man Walks into a Room (2002), the story of Samson Greene, a character who has forgotten who he is, and everything he knows. In early praise, critic Susan Sontag said, “Nicole Krauss, with this remarkably felt, sharp-witted debut novel, strides into the forecourt of American letters.”
Nicole Krauss is married to fellow bestselling novelist, Jonathan Safran Foer.
Previous Visit: May 3, 2006
For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.