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Great House, By Nicole Krauss

A tapestry of pain, torture – and our capacity to love

Nicole Krauss's superb novel is out in paperback almost before the hardback is off the shelves.

It is a gorgeously woven tapestry spanning different times and different lives, connected by a writing desk that passes from one set of hands to another. The Holocaust, torture and pain hang over these stories, and the novel is about memory and ghosts, but it offers a far more comforting aspect than one might expect.

Less tricksy than Krauss's previous novel, The History of Love, but carrying on some of its themes, Great House uses the confessions of a young novelist who inherits the desk from an exiled Chilean poet, and the rummaging of an old man through his wife's secret past, to probe our capacity to love.