The Hundred-year House

Makkai, Rebecca

Book - 2014
Average Rating: 3 stars out of 5.
The Hundred-year House
Meet the Devohrs: Zee, a Marxist literary scholar who detests her parents wealth but nevertheless finds herself living in their carriage house; Gracie, her mother, who claims she can tell your lot in life by looking at your teeth; and Bruce, her step-father, stockpiling supplies for the Y2K apocalypse and perpetually late for his tee time. Then theres Violet Devohr, Zees great-grandmother, who they say took her own life somewhere in the vast house, and whose massive oil portrait still hangs in the dining room Violets portrait was known to terrify the artists who resided at the house from the 1920s to the 1950s, when it served as the Laurelfield Arts Colonyand this is exactly the period Zees husband, Doug, is interested in. An out-of-work academic whose only hope of a future position is securing a book deal, Doug is stalled on his biography of the poet Edwin Parfitt, once in residence at the colony. All he needs to get the book back on trackbesides some motivation and self-esteemis access to the colony records, rotting away in the attic for decades. But when Doug begins to poke around where he shouldnt, he finds Gracie guards the files with a strange ferocity, raising questions about what she might be hiding. The secrets of the hundred-year house would turn everything Doug and Zee think they know about her family on its headthat is, if they were to ever uncover them

Publisher: New York :, Viking,, [2014]
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9780525426684
Branch Call Number: FICTION MAKKA...R
Characteristics: 338 pages ; 22 cm


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Nov 07, 2014
  • occy rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

Was quite enjoying this story until I reached about half way thru the book when I started to lose interest. At this stage, I got to the point where I had a job to press on and finish the book. I found a lot of the characters actually annoyed me and I just cldn't keep track of them all.. Definitely a shame as it had such great potential..

Oct 13, 2014
  • rk2145 rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

I was disappointed in this book. I had chosen this book because other reviews called it "complex" and "many layered," but I wouldn't call this book that at all. It basically was a "meh" whodunnit. I couldn't find myself caring for any of the characters, which were flat. If you want a book which peels back the layers and explores hidden mysteries through decades, try Kate Atkinson or David Mitchell.

Sep 23, 2014
  • gusmcrae rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

In many ways this is a fantastic book. The first 2 sections of the book grabbed me in and would not let go. Unfortunately, I think the novel fizzled out a bit as it moved towards its conclusion. I think on many levels it's a brilliant book. I just felt like I needed to take notes to follow everything that was going on. And the central mystery of the book--Violet's death--was not addressed clearly enough for my tastes.

But, I give it a fairly high score for how well done it was overall and would still probably recommend the book. Mostly because I'd love to have folks to discuss the book with. Maybe then I'd understand it better.

Sep 11, 2014
  • becker rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

This book had an interesting reverse structure and a solid storyline but the characters failed to make any impression on me and the reverse order made it challenging to follow some of the character threads. Overall it was a good book but not necessarily a great reading experience for me.

Aug 30, 2014
  • aliciamarie rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This book definitely takes you for a ride (in more ways than one). You start off in 1999 and wind up in 1900. I was worried once I figured out that this was the format -- I was getting attached to these 1999 people (and all the characters in between), who were funny and weird, quirky, but never see them again. But in a weird way we do. Funny how history tends to repeat itself. The book was a slow start but it had just enough mystery and intrigue to keep me reading. The first two parts (1999 & 1955) were my favorites. I honestly was a bit lost during the many character perspectives of 1929. I felt like I needed a read-along guide book to keep all the characters and facts straight.

Aug 18, 2014

"This clever, intriguing novel has not only an unusual setting (a possibly haunted estate that used to be an artists' colony) but also offbeat characters crammed into close quarters (the coach house) and a fascinating structure (each chapter steps back in time over the span of a century). A creepy oil painting of an ancestor who may have killed herself, a secretive matriarch, her slowly unravelling daughter, and the revealing of long-kept secrets are only the beginning -- complex, layered narratives demand a close read, but darkly witty prose and a gothic sensibility make for "delightful twists that surprise and satisfy" (Publishers Weekly)." Fiction A to Z August 2014 newsletter


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