The daughters of the house (by Michele Roberts)

I had never heard of this book before starting college, it just so happened that it was on my reading list and had to be read for a seminar.  Allow me a digression, my big module is ran in seminars, not lessons; we’re give a book/article/essay to read for the week after and then we examine it together with in class discussions and obviously directed by our professor that puts us right when we go wrong (… ‘professoress’  is there a word for female professor?).  So different from the old fashion top-down lectures of years and years ago!  (nothing wrong with those of course but I find this system so stimulating and interesting).

Anyway, back to the book, at the time of publication it was shortlisted for the Booker Prize… but I wasn’t in England yet so that’s why it never entered my radar.  It’s a beautifully crafted book.   I’m not going to give you an in depth analysis of the text because this is not what this blog is about, but suffice to say that it’s definitively worth reading.

Therese and Leonie are French and English cousins that meet up every summer in the French farmhouse.  The story begins when the two girls, now women meet for the first time in 20 years… and then it goes back to explain what happened, what caused this long absence.  Family dramas, death, a wonderful representation of society after the war in rural France, religion…

The chapter are short and cleverly titled with the name of an object (‘the green scarf’ ‘the dustpan’ etc.) that spark memories and episodes in the girls past and from these these snippets we piece together their love/hate relationship, the scandal hidden in their past, the horrors of the war, their life at the time and why things are as they are now.

If you like galloping plots.. this is not for you, but if you like a well written book with really acute and beautiful descriptions than go for it.

And now I really need to pack… (always tricky and bound to go wrong when you’re to in a packing frame of mind, right?


2018   Mr Hanckock and the mermaid

2017 – Magari domain resto (Lorenzo Maroni)

2016 – Upstream (Mary Oliver)

2015   –  Reasons to stay alive (Matt Haig)

2014 – Annihilation (Jeff VanderMeer)

2013 – Careless people (Sarah Churchwell)

2012 – Wonder (RJ Palacia)

2011 – The Paris Wife (Paula McLain)


2009 – Let the great world spin (Colum McCann)

2008 – The White Tiger (Aravind Adiga)


2006 –  The Road (Cormac McCarthy)

2005 – Never let me go (Kazuo Ishiguro)

2004 – American Gods (Nail Gainman)


2002 – Everything is illuminated (Jonathan Safran Foer)


2000 – Coram Boy (Jamila Gavin)




1996 – Wilfred and Eileen (Jonathan Smith)




1992 – The daughters of the house (Michele Roberts)

1991- Regeneration (Pat Barker)

1990 – Darkness visible (William Styron)

1989 – Like water to chocolate (Laura Esquivel)




1985­ – Oranges are not the only fruit (Jeanette Winterson)

1984  – Hotel du Lac (Anita Brookner)

1983 –  Heartburn (Nora Ephron)

1982  – The colour purple (Alice Walker)


1980 – Emmeline (Judith Rossiter)

1979– The bloody chamber (Angela Carter)




1975 –  First love, last rites – (Ian McEwan)


1973 –  the honorary consul (Graham Greene)


1971  – Reunion (Fred Uhlman)

1970  – A slipping down life (Anne Tyler)



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