The Big Read Blog (Archive)

Aunt Sylvie in Housekeeping

Cover of Housekeeping, courtesy of Picador

Eccentricity can often be misinterpreted as mental instability, but so can genius and originality. Take Thelonious Monk for example. Or Andy Warhol. Or Zelda Fitzgerald as discussed in Monday's post. The character of Aunt Sylvie in Marilynne Robinson's tremendous novel, Housekeeping (a Big Read selection), is definitely out there, but is she crazy? What exactly is crazy? In spite of her peripatetic lifestyle and whimsical nature, there's something very grounded in her realness, her spirit, and her strength. As musician Jim White says in our audio guide, "She has embraced the most esoteric kernel of herself and let it guide her." [3:38]

[audio:http://bigreadblog.arts.gov/audio/AuntSylvieREV.mp3]

[transcript]

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