Rebecca Makkai Recommended Image

When: Sat., Aug. 9 2014

Rebecca Makkai's new novel, The Hundred-Year House, is a mystery that takes an unusual form: the Chicago author begins with a happy ending, then progresses backward in time, simultaneously revealing the origins of various deceptions that got the narrative so tangled in the first place and laying down the clues that have already been uncovered in part one. It's one of those books that improves on a rereading, so you can see how all the pieces fall into place. (And there's no cheating: you won't learn anything by reading the last page first.) The mystery itself concerns Laurelfield, a rambling old mansion in Lake Forest said to be haunted by the ghost of Violet Devohr, the unhappy wife of the Toronto millionaire who built it in 1900, and possibly also the creative spirits of the guests who stayed there during its 30 years as an artists' colony. In 1999, when the story begins, and ends, it's a private home again, inhabited by Gracie, granddaughter of the original owners, her second husband, Bruce, and, crammed into the coach house, Gracie's daughter, Zee, Bruce's son, Case, and their respective spouses, Doug and Miriam. Continue reading >>

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