Home Making: A Novel

Home Making: A Novel

The Millions Most Anticipated Books in February"An intricate exploration of family and home, of mother and child, of friends, of women and written with both precision and style."Weike Wang, author of ChemistryFrom a talented, powerful new voice in fiction comes a stunning novel about the intersection of three lives coming to grips with identity, family legacy, and what it...

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Title:Home Making: A Novel
Author:Lee Matalone
Rating:

Home Making: A Novel Reviews

  • Tali Ruth

    A beautiful new voice in fiction-- fresh, unexpected, and utterly necessary.

  • Leslie Lindsay

    (HarperPerennial, Feb 18 2020) is such an intangible kind of read--it's

    . And I really loved this hybrid-like approach. It's told in first person and doesn't exactly follow the traditional arc of fiction, but it more

    (HarperPerennial, Feb 18 2020) is such an intangible kind of read--it's

    . And I really loved this hybrid-like approach. It's told in first person and doesn't exactly follow the traditional arc of fiction, but it more

    Having said all that, this

    (of course, like all good fiction, it's often mined from the 'real-life' of the author's experiences).

    That baby is adopted by an American family leaves Japan, and is

    This little girl (Cybil) grows up to become an ob/gyn, delivering babies while her own, a daughter (Chloe), is raised by her in combination with au pairs.

    that is at once elegant and jarring. There are plenty of references to homes and design and architecture--esoteric quotes and notations--which I loved, but others may find distracting (I'm a super-nerd when it comes to design and architecture).

    She's struggling--at times (simultaneously?)

    Her marriage is over and her estranged husband is dying of cancer.

    with a dog? Of course.

    painting walls, selecting furnishings, thinking about her ex-husband. And her friend, Beau is there to help. But he has a history--and struggles--of his own.

    Some of the turns of phrase are so lucid, so gorgeous, I ached to work on my own writing.

    The last quarter of the book seemed to unravel a bit for me--and maybe this was intentional--perhaps it was about

    there was no need to make everything inside (the house) perfect, because it is what it is? Readers should keep in mind that

    type narrative. I felt this added a bit of

    to the reading experience, almost a

    it might not be everyone's cup of tea.

    I found similarities between

    and

    (Rachel Hong) meets

    (Carrianne Leung), with a touch of Pete Fromm (

    ). Some pieces of motherhood, particularly that dizzy new-motherhood daze reminiscent of Helen Phillips's

    Special thanks to the author and HarperPerennial for the review copy. All thoughts are my own.

  • Angela M

    3.5 rounded up .

    This is a quiet introspective story with no earth shattering plot line, yet this debut novel is powerful in its reflections on identity, what it means to belong, on motherhood, on relationships of mother and daughter, husbands and wives, the depth of love that friendship brings and ultimately on the meaning of home. The narrative starts out in the third person telling the story of young Japanese woman who defies her mother, meets a French man and after getting pregnant, gives up

    3.5 rounded up .

    This is a quiet introspective story with no earth shattering plot line, yet this debut novel is powerful in its reflections on identity, what it means to belong, on motherhood, on relationships of mother and daughter, husbands and wives, the depth of love that friendship brings and ultimately on the meaning of home. The narrative starts out in the third person telling the story of young Japanese woman who defies her mother, meets a French man and after getting pregnant, gives up her baby, who is adopted and brought to Tucson. By the end of the chapter, her life moves quickly, and Cybil gives birth to her own daughter, Chloe. Her past influences her desire to “do anything for her child, because she has a responsibility to show her the goodness in a world gull if despair, to show her that she is loved when many babies out there are not loved, are given away, left in orphanages, in hopes that some man and some woman, or some man and some man, or some woman or some woman will walk by the tight crib at the very moment that tge baby extends a hand and grabs their coat. This baby, Chloe, will not suffer that. She will be loved , from hospital bed to home.”

    The story then becomes Chloe’s as the narrative shifts to her in the first person as an adult. The narratives move between Chloe, Cybil, Chloe’s best friend Beau and briefly her ex husband, Pat. The major focus, though is on Chloe as she struggles to get through a breakup with her husband who is dying of cancer and trying to make a house a home, redoing it room by room, but I thought the journey really was in finding the home within herself, as it was with Cybil and Beau. “I want to build a home. Or, rather, I want to take this existing house and turn it into something where happiness can bloom.”

    At times it felt a bit disjointed, but I decided to rounded up to 4 because the writing was lovely in places in this debut and because I feel so immersed in these quiet novels and this was no exception.

    I received an advanced copy of this book from Harper Perennial through Edelweiss.

  • Karen

    "You dont just get pregnant, suffer the nine months, give birth, and become Mother. You choose this title."

    I was surprised by the mixed reviews on this novel. The writing is unusual and a bit of a stream of consciousness-like, but in my opinion that didn't get in the way of this beautiful story. I loved this story because it's the kind of novel I enjoy the most: quiet with characters that are interesting and writing that's thoughtful.

    "Some women do this all their lives. Iron, rear, sweep, wash,

    "You don’t just get pregnant, suffer the nine months, give birth, and become Mother. You choose this title."

    I was surprised by the mixed reviews on this novel. The writing is unusual and a bit of a stream of consciousness-like, but in my opinion that didn't get in the way of this beautiful story. I loved this story because it's the kind of novel I enjoy the most: quiet with characters that are interesting and writing that's thoughtful.

    "Some women do this all their lives. Iron, rear, sweep, wash, fold, brush, wipe. For the entirety of their adult lives, they make homes. They make other people. They make families. This is just to say that what I’m doing is not so unusual. It’s the opposite. This act is completely mundane. But no one talks about how difficult it is. I don’t think it’s any easier for a woman with a pretty husband and a pretty six-year-old daughter. Beneath the prettiness, we are all a mess. We are all struggling."

    I loved the quiet nature of this novel. The characters grew on me as I read, I loved the quiet atmosphere of home making, the juxtaposition of illness, motherhood, friendship and people quietly taking care of each other, needing each other, building lives together.

    "In this moment you know that for all the trauma you have suffered, for all the suffering you have witnessed, you know there is no love greater than this and you believe in God."

    I loved the writing. I loved the mother-daughter relationship. I loved the way the whole book grew on me as I read it. I found myself rooting for the characters, rooting for everyone to make the homes they wish to have, to fell full. The find their own homes.

    If quiet novels are your thing, too, you will like this one.

    with gratitude to edelweiss and Harper Perennial for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

  • Russ

    Beautiful. Wraps you up like your favorite blanket, then pulls itself away. Matalone offers the family as something malleable and permanent, and as based on faith as it is blood. I wish Id read this book when I was working on my thesis.

    Beautiful. Wraps you up like your favorite blanket, then pulls itself away. Matalone offers the family as something malleable and permanent, and as based on faith as it is blood. I wish I’d read this book when I was working on my thesis.

  • Melissa

    Usually when I have a hard time reviewing a book, its because I cant quite explain what about it affected me so much. Home Making is that book for me.

    I loved so many relatable lines, moments and feelings in this book. I loved the humor. I felt so in tune with so much of it. The style was a difficult one to get used to. The writing was somehow both heavy and light. At times it was exquisite and brilliant and I wanted to reread so many lines. I just felt immersed.

    I recommend this one when youre in

    Usually when I have a hard time reviewing a book, it’s because I can’t quite explain what about it affected me so much. Home Making is that book for me.

    I loved so many relatable lines, moments and feelings in this book. I loved the humor. I felt so in tune with so much of it. The style was a difficult one to get used to. The writing was somehow both heavy and light. At times it was exquisite and brilliant and I wanted to reread so many lines. I just felt immersed.

    I recommend this one when you’re in the mood to get lost in someone else’s story.

    I received a copy in exchange for my honest review.

  • Traci

    I would say this about a 3.25...maybe a little more..read. This was a short read. Sometimes I felt it a little hard to get into although I cannot figure out why. All in all it was a good story.

    **Goodreads win**

  • Jennifer

    This book was confusing. It was a stream of consciousness, a storyline I couldn't follow well, and characters that I couldn't connect to. Maybe I just didn't get it?

  • Brandi Fundingsland

    Although the back synopsis sounds very interesting, I found I could only make it through 50 pages. It is written with a stream of consciousness style and jumps from character to character. I've read books in this style before, but found this one harder to follow along than others.

  • Mallory

    Lee Matalone breaks into the literary world with her debut, Home Making, which is an examination of domesticity, a feminized exploration of what it takes to build a home, both physically and metaphysically, and how difficult and rewarding it is to undertake the process alone. There are some fumbling phrases, the occasional clunky misstep of a debut author figuring out her voice, rhythm, and style, but these moments did not detract from the books nostalgic charm. I found that these awkward

    Lee Matalone breaks into the literary world with her debut, Home Making, which is an examination of domesticity, a feminized exploration of what it takes to build a home, both physically and metaphysically, and how difficult and rewarding it is to undertake the process alone. There are some fumbling phrases, the occasional clunky misstep of a debut author figuring out her voice, rhythm, and style, but these moments did not detract from the book’s nostalgic charm. I found that these awkward moments were more frequent towards the end of the book, as the structure of the narrative starts to fray. When the perspective is with Chloe, Lee Matalone’s whimsical and endearing voice shines like a perfectly placed lamp in a freshly painted room. When Matalone moves the narration away from the house, and from Chloe, the story felt like it had lost its way: the room-by-room structure grounds the meandering nature of the stream-of-consciousness style, and gives it the weight it needs to keep the story focused. That being said, Lee Matalone’s Home Making is a debut whose quiet power will fill its readers with the comforting warmth of nostalgia, and a bittersweet desire to return home, wherever that may be.

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