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Great House, By Nicole Krauss

Paperbacks Of The Year: Open drawers reveal a series of lost stories

Nicole Krauss's third novel dropped some of the tricksiness of The History of Love but kept the psychological complexity of A Man Walks Into a Room, and as a result is her best book yet.

The story concerns possession of a desk that is left to an American woman by an exiled and hunted Chilean poet one night in the early 1970s. Before that, the desk belonged to a Jewish man who died during the Holocaust, but it also came to an English couple, and kept a secret about their marriage in one of its drawers. Krauss pulls together these many different strands of human experience, loss and pain in a kind of stream-of-consciousness prose that regularly makes you catch your breath. A superb tale.