How does one deal with the suicide of a loved one and other forms of sadness? Do you simply begin to unravel, until you are no longer normal? Or do you cling to normalcy, content to skate on a thin veneer of ice without looking beneath its depths?
These are some of the central questions to Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping, which deals with the appearance of a mentally unstable aunt into the lives of two sisters.
Robinson's prose is like the lake at the edge of the town of Fingerbone, eternally changeable. Sometimes it is luminous, at other times it is so full of gravity that you can feel yourself sink into the depths of murky, fetid water.
"...sometimes I think sorrow is a predatory thing because birds scream at dawn with a marvelous terror, and ther is, as I have said before, a deathly bitterness in the smell of ponds and ditches."