Saturday, June 2, 2012
The House I Loved
This is the latest novel by Tatiana de Rosnay, the author of Sarah's Key. Like her second novel, A Secret Kept, it is not nearly as good as Sarah's Key, but still isn't bad. The entire book is written from the point of view of Rose, a sixty year old widow in Paris in the late 1860s. She lives in the home that had been in her deceased husband's family for centuries and is now slated for demolition to accommodate the grand modernization schemes of Napoleon and Haussman. Rose refuses to leave her home despite evacuation orders and is holed up in the cellar with only her memories and a homeless man who brings her food, water and coal on a daily basis. Most of the book is written as a letter by Rose to her dead husband - she brings him up to date on life in the 10 years since his passing and eventually reveals a horrible secret that she harboured throughout the last years of their marriage. This is interspersed with occasional letters to Rose which is the only time the book reveals any one else's point of view. While sometimes I found Rose's voice got a bit tedious, it's interesting to imagine all the buildings and lives that were destroyed in order to create Paris as we know it today.