I am going to go out on a limb (although personally I don't really feel as though it is that big!) and say that I have found my best read of 2010 and possibly one of my all time top ten favourite reads - I loved Great House that much.
My first Nicole Krauss read was The History Of Love - which I also adored saying about it at the time; "It is simply stunning" and at the risk of sounding like a broken record I am definitely going to have to echo that sentiment in regards to Great House.
Great House weaves several people's stories together with the central and connecting character being a large wooden desk which is first introduced to the reader in this way;
I looked across the room at the wooden desk at which I had written seven novels, and on whose surface, in the cone of light cast by a lamp, lay the piles of pages and notes that were to constitute an eighth. One drawer was slightly ajar, one of the nineteen drawers, some small and some large, whose odd number and strange array, I realized now, on the cusp of their being suddenly taken from me, had come to signify a kind of guiding if mysterious order in my life, an order that, when my work was going well, took on an almost mystical quality.
The desk is described in varying ways by different characters - depending upon their relationship to and connection with it. The author of the above quote is Nadia - an American writer who originally acquired the desk from the Chilean poet, Daniel Varsky when he returns to his homeland. The desk is meant to be on loan but when Varsky is arrested and then disappears Nadia ends up holding on to the desk and building it into her writing routine and success.
The book is told in alternating chapters from different characters who have had a connection with the desk in the past - or who are going to have a connection to it in the future. In their stories the desk becomes far more than just a simple piece of furniture and we see the meaning it holds for each of the characters and how it has impacted on their lives and decisions.
The writing in Great House is haunting and memorable and the structure is perfection. Each character was so richly drawn and their memories, purpose and goals were clearly portrayed to the reader - although not so much that I didn't feel as though I could not attach my own meaning to the story through my reading.
I love, loved, loved this book and am already ready to go back and read it all over again.