Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Giant's House : a review

The Giant's House by Elizabeth McCracken (1996)

This is one of my very favorite books and I just read it for the second time after buying a used copy. This means I can dog-ear the pages to mark my favorite passages. There are approximately 20 dog-ears in it already which I suppose renders the practice moot, but nonetheless I find it immensely satisfying.

I wrote almost nothing about it last time and while I still can’t do it justice, I will at least tell you a little about the plot. The narrator is a librarian on Cape Cod who meets and falls in love with a remarkable young man. He is a giant, growing quickly and unstoppably, doomed to die before his time from the condition. Peggy befriends him at the library and eventually becomes a more personal friend, finally becoming romantically involved, but rather too late.

The story is beautiful and sad and I love both Peggy and James. The first time I read this book, I think it was all about James for me but this time I thought much more about Peggy and her life. She was socially rather inept, romantically challenged, and didn’t really like people. But, despite the vast difference in their ages, for some reason she loved James. Of course their relationship was doomed and Peggy seemed to accept this, as she accepted the many unhappy circumstances of her life.

If you haven’t read this book yet, I urge you to do so now. In closing, I’ll leave you with this brief love poem that James wrote for Peggy:

Love Poem for a Librarian

Although her love for me is infinitesimal,
Her eyes are as Dewey as any old decimal.

1 comment:

Abby Goldsmith said...

I agree, this was a good book. And such a sweet haiku!