• Housekeeping (40th Anniversary Edition)

  • A Novel (Picador Modern Classics)
  • By: Marilynne Robinson
  • Narrated by: Thérèse Plummer
  • Length: 6 hrs and 24 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (135 ratings)

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Housekeeping (40th Anniversary Edition)  By  cover art

Housekeeping (40th Anniversary Edition)

By: Marilynne Robinson
Narrated by: Thérèse Plummer
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Publisher's Summary

"[Narrator Therese] Plummer's talented performance is both illuminating and poignant." (AudioFile Magazine) 

Winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award

Fortieth Anniversary Edition

This program includes a bonus conversation with the author.

A modern classic, Marilynne Robinson's 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, the eccentric and remote sister of their dead mother. 

The family house is in the small town of Fingerbone on a glacial lake in the Far West, 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.

A Macmillan Audio production from Farrar, Straus and Giroux 

©1980 Marilynne Robinson (P)2020 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"So precise, so distilled, so beautiful that one doesn't want to miss any pleasure it might yield." (The New York Times Book Review)

"These tiny little titles are pocket-sized, shiny, and gorgeous. Featuring authors like Marilynne Robinson and Jeffery Eugenides, they're the kind of books you'll have to own the entire set of, because they're just that pretty - and it happens to be lovely that they fit in just about every bag you own. You can't be caught anywhere without a book, of course." (Julia Seales, Bustle)

"Our books today are the neatest little things you’ll see in the rest of 2015’s book-year: a set of Modern Classics from Picador Press, done up in a neat bow!" (Open Letters Monthly

What listeners say about Housekeeping (40th Anniversary Edition)

Average Customer Ratings
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A small and perfect novel

Certainly a book for people who don’t quite fit into the conventional world. But nature is also main character here and I’m ready to drive to Idaho tomorrow to experience it.

4 people found this helpful

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Beautiful language

The text is rich and remarkable in its descriptors and attention to detail.
The beginning is slow, but as the story unfolds, the narrator’s inner dialogue explores so many of life’s imponderables. I was drawn into her world in fascination. Wonderful to listen to!

3 people found this helpful

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Overall not bad

I listened to this during a long drive it kept me awake and interested. There are some points during the book that seem a little redundant where it almost goes into too much detail and the story becomes stagnant but it picks back up and the ending was good.

1 person found this helpful

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glorious syntax but...

I appreciate the head on confrontation between the realities of death and destruction, the wild hope of resurrection. A pedestrian narrator, a plot with almost no move ment or male perspective distracted me.


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Most boring book ever

This was a book club book. I found this book the most boring book I have ever listened to. In fact I don't think I got more than two hours into it and that was a struggle. I just couldn't do it. Going to return this one.
I thought it was just me and I asked a couple of other ladies how they were liking so far and they both thought was extremely boring and having a hard time trying to get interested in story. No plot!

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The narrator couldn't save it...

Metaphor-schmetaphor. This book is tedious. I bought it based on the fact that "Gilead" is majestic.
"Housekeeping"? Not majestic. At all. I should have guessed that from the title.

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Interesting characters

this story was a bit slow and seemed plotless for a while. but the metaphoric language could be beautiful.

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  • Louise G
  • 10-27-22

Deeply deeply touching

A mesmerising story, beautifully poetic, heartbreaking with a candid humour. Quite staggering to think this was a first novel! I’d read Lila previously and loved it, Robinson is a true artist and paints vivid pictures with meticulous detail….Real escapism…I’m hooked!

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  • Monsaraz
  • 09-12-22

A book that can be read again and again

I have to say I found this book hard going at first, till I settled in and began to understand it’s floating allusive poetic nature. It wasn’t till the end that I really ‘got’ it - but very worth persevering. Many mysteries linger and I’m ready to start re- reading even tho I’ve only just finished. Expresses truths you know but don’t have words for. Beautifully read.

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  • GLK
  • 08-11-22

wow. an unexpected treasure

Audible's algorithms suggested Marilynne Robinson to me. curiosity made me spend the credit and pleasure ensued. this is such a tighlty written, rich intense and poetic novel. not much happens but everything happens in Fingerbone where Ruth and Lucille lived in a house dense with their families absence, the gravity of the Lake and the pull of the train transportting people in and out of their lives. wonderful.