The Hundred-Year House

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The Hundred-Year House
352 pages; Viking Adult

The Whimsical Novel That Will Banish the Blahs

Author Rebecca Makkai is known for her delightful, whip-smart tales, told with a touch of whimsy (think back to The Borrower, about a librarian who runs off with a dour young reader). Her latest novel is a witty mystery set at a countryside estate. College professor Zee Devohrs returns to live in her family’s historic home Laurelfield, a former arts colony. Along with her comes her husband, Doug, who’s determined to write a book about a long dead poet who once lived there. The two share the grounds with an array of eccentric family members: step sister-in-law, Miriam who makes mosaics out of trash; Zee’s mother, Gracie, the WASP matriarch; and at least one ghost. Then there are locked-up archives of the colony, which Doug sneaks through, discovering secrets that affect not just his own career but his marriage. Makkai’s humorous, expertly orchestrated storytelling will surprise you. Just when you think you know what’s what and who’s who at Laurelfield, hidden identities are revealed and history must be recalibrated. Perfect for a rainy day on the sun porch—with an old-fashioned glass of lemonade and a musty summerhouse throw around your shoulders.
— Elisabeth Witchel