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A House and Its Head
A House and Its Head | Ivy Compton-Burnett
38 posts | 10 read | 33 to read
A radical thinker, one of the rare modern heretics, said Mary McCarthy of Ivy Compton-Burnett, in whose austere, savage, and bitingly funny novels anything can happen and no one will ever escape. The long, endlessly surprising conversational duels at the center of Compton-Burnett's works are confrontations between the unspoken and the unspeakable, and in them the dynamics of power and desire are dramatized as nowhere else. New York Review Books is reissuing two of the finest novels of this singular modern geniusworks that look forward to the blacky comic inventions of Muriel Spark as much as they do back to the drawing rooms of Jane Austen. A House and Its Head is Ivy Compton-Burnett's subversive look at the politics of family life, and perhaps the most unsparing of her novels. No sooner has Duncan Edgeworth's wife died than he takes a new, much younger bride whose willful ways provoke a series of transgressions that begins with adultery and ends, much to everyone's relief, in murder.
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DrexEdit
A House and Its Head | Ivy Compton-Burnett
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#BookReport for 2/2 thru 2/8. I did pretty well, finishing 3 books. Only one of those books was in my plan tho! Oh, the tyranny of the library hold list! Had to finish the Prince memoir and Tiffany book so they could go back to the library. I made progress on Soul Music (even tho the buddy read due date is passed and I should be starting the next one!) and on the E Roosevelt autobio. So a good week overall in reading 😊👍🏻

DrexEdit Sorry @Cinfhen! I forgot to tag you! 😬🙃🙂 2w
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merelybookish
A House and Its Head | Ivy Compton-Burnett
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vivastory Definitely love her ❤️❤️ This was my first Compton-Burnett. It won't be my last! 3w
saresmoore Fully in the love camp. I want to read a biography on her, too. Her style is unapologetic, but it felt so authentic. The characters were pretty awful, but I know a version of each of them in real life! I think it takes some keen observational and empathy skills to pull that off, especially in a book that‘s almost all dialogue. 3w
vivastory @saresmoore Authentic is a great word for it! It was full of biting dialogue, but unlike other modernists the book didn't feel overwhelmingly hopeless. I wasn't filled with despair when I finished it. 3w
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DrexEdit I‘m definitely more in the love camp. I think unapologetic is a great way to describe her style @saresmoore. She is very sharp and closely observed her characters. Totally want to read more by and about her. 3w
LeahBergen I‘m definitely skewed to the love side. And this portrait of her! How can you not admire her?? 3w
mklong So I ended up in between here. I think I appreciated the way she used dialogue to reveal her characters and their relationships with each other. I'm also impressed that she was unafraid to fill her book with loathsome people. But, for me, there was just too much conversation about mundane details. The Christmas celebration where, pretty much nothing of consequence happens, takes nearly 50 pages! I too often found myself saying, “get on with it!“ 3w
saresmoore @LeahBergen It‘s uncannily similar to how I pictured Mrs. Jekyll! 3w
mklong @leahbergen LOL, that is some serious side eye she is giving us all! 3w
Billypar I think I'm between 'like' and 'love': I would read more, but I could also picture this kind of style falling flat in another novel. I would have never picked up this one on my own based on the description, which didn't sound like the kind of book I like, but so glad I did! 3w
vivastory 😄 3w
Billypar Agreed about some of that less than relevant conversation @mklong ! I guess the only advantage is that it did make all the melodrama stand out in relief. But I think it would have been fine to cut some sections. 3w
arubabookwoman I've never read her (hope to someday), but I do remember in Alan Bennet's book about Queen Elizabeth becoming an avid reader, The Uncommon Reader (highly revommended btw), the Queen was very dismissive of ICB and couldn't understand why anyone read her any more. 3w
vivastory @arubabookwoman I have that one on my shelves. Doesn't Queen Elizabeth eventually become an admirer of her work in the book? I thought I read something about that when I was reading articles about Compton-Burnett 3w
arubabookwoman @vivastory You know I don't remember whether she became s fan. You'll have to let me know when you get to The Uncommon Reader, or maybe someone here knows.🙂 3w
JenniferP While I thought this book was sort of “meh“, I'm still interested in reading more by her. I love the era and was intrigued enough by the book to read more. 3w
merelybookish Like @mklong @jenniferp @Billypar I'm not sure this was love for me. But I am definitely fascinated and would give another one of her books a try. I can't help but admire her audacity at creating her own unique style! Also impressive making a late breakfast more upsetting than a dead child. 3w
sisilia I‘m not a fan of the dialogue 😅 If not for the stirring drama in the second half, I‘d probably bail 🙈 3w
Leftcoastzen Who put in their post that she had a bunch of sisters and they all did not marry? I find myself more interested in Ivy herself more than the novels. 3w
batsy @Leftcoastzen That was @emilyhaldi I believe! I also found her life really fascinating. 3w
batsy I'm firmly in the love camp, for the reasons @saresmoore mentioned. I feel like she's some kind of genius with what she was doing with the narrative form & the kind of domestic tedium & emotional violence (if that's the right word) that she was depicting through the dialogue. Like a family can be boring, or over-familiar, because you know each other so well or live with each other whether you like each other or not, but it can also be traumatic. 3w
BarbaraBB I am in between I think. The book was an unexpected surprise and its dialogues made me laugh out loud. I think @saresmoore description is spot on but I don‘t think I‘ll get another book by her any time soon. I haven‘t thought much about ICB herself but @Leftcoastzen ‘s remark about all those unmarried sisters could make for an interesting book! 3w
BarbaraBB @vivastory and @merelybookish thanks for hosting another great discussion. They add so much for me, almost always I afterwards appreciate the books we read even more! 3w
GatheringBooks Thank you #NYRBBookClub for making me read something that I would never pick up on my own. Yes, she is brilliant, but does she have to be tedious. Yes, the dialogues are witty but do we need a thousand characters to prove basically the same repetitive point that people are flawed, women are ignored, neighbors judge, life‘s bad.not in the ❣️camp, but not hate camp either bec I love being challenged when I read. But not inclined to read more of her. 3w
Liz_M I'm in the same camp as @JenniferP. While this book didn't work for me, I can see myself enjoying her work if read at the right time. 3w
Leftcoastzen @batsy domestic tedium and emotional violence. You nailed it ! 3w
merelybookish @BarbaraBB I agree! And I end up feeling like there's still more we could discuss like Cassie and Alison. Or the fact that everyone seems okay with the fact that Sybil killed her half-brother. 3w
Billypar @merelybookish I enjoyed Alison's scenes, and the constant references to her 'predecessor', in spite of everyone's obvious discomfort. And yeah - the murder doesn't seem to cause much of a reaction: Duncan was way more upset at Grant for sleeping with his wife. Much more to discuss as with any nyrb titles, but you and @vivastory covered lots of ground with your questions: thanks for hosting this month's discussion of such a unique read! 3w
emilyhaldi @Leftcoastzen @batsy yes that was me!! I am a bit on the fence regarding ICB however, would love to find a good biography of her life to get more of that dark story... Then I think I may be interested in more of her writing!! 3w
merelybookish @Billypar Thanks to everyone for their participation! I was worried about the novel but as usual, it made for some great discussion! 3w
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merelybookish
A House and Its Head | Ivy Compton-Burnett
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Billypar I want to think of a devil's advocate response here, but right now all I have is 'yes' 😅 3w
vivastory Echoing the thread. I thought the scenes when Duncan left on vacation were really interesting for their emotional complexity. On the one hand the family members got a bit of a break, on the other they were filled with anxiety over if he'd return with a new bride! 3w
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LeahBergen Ditto, @Billypar ! 😆 3w
merelybookish Oh dear, am I going to have to defend Duncan! 😂 I guess I felt he was representative of any male figurehead, that whoever the head, he would be awful. Had Grant succeed, it seemed he too would eventually become just as loathsome. There was that whole.thing about naming, how a Duncan then a Richard then a Duncan. Like it was a long line and history of dicks. 😆@Billypar @LeahBergen @vivastory @saresmoore 3w
Billypar Ah that's a good thought - like he's technically responsible, but why does he feel entitled to lord his power over others in the family? 'A long line and history of dicks' is well put! 😁 3w
Billypar Personality-wise Grant seems very different- it's hard to picture Duncan like Grant even in his younger days. But Grant's behavior is still loathsome in a different kind of patriarchal sense - that he feels entitled to sleep with whoever he wishes and feel no guilt or responsibility for the consequences. And no one really blames him (except Duncan, who doesn't count). 3w
merelybookish @Billypar I agree that Grant was different and seemed to understand how things were for Nance and Sybill. But he also could hang with Duncan for little tete-a-tetes and had no problem abusing his position. 3w
Billypar Yes, definitely - they have that in common! On the one hand, Grant makes light of Duncan with Nance, but he is also dead set on his inheritance. And if he's already so unaccountable for his active, we can only imagine how he'd be if he became the new head. 3w
batsy Short answer: yes, but it's not entirely Duncan's fault alone as an individual—I blame the patriarchy 😅 3w
BarbaraBB Yes to Duncan being responsible for the dysfunctional family, but I wonder how he could get it his way while his daughters seem very clever and aware of what‘s happening and commenting upon it all the time. Why did nothing change? And like @Billypar I wondered why Grant could get away with all the things he did. Lot of dicks indeed @merelybookish 🤣 3w
GatheringBooks @batsy Amen to Dismantling the Patriarchy. However, I did feel that Duncan was a whole different level of loathsome altogether. From a clinical perspective, I am now thinking if there is something neurologically off abt him, whether his lack of empathy & careless disregard of other people‘s emotions/well-being is symptomatic of some disorder that thrives on order, punctuality to a fault, obsessive compulsive desire to be in control, & narcissism. 3w
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merelybookish
A House and Its Head | Ivy Compton-Burnett
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vivastory I feel like they brought more variety, Burnett's techniques might have felt tedious if she had limited the focus of the book to the family members. They definitely brought some comic relief (ie Beatrice spreading the message of Christmas felt like a scene right out of Austen) 3w
saresmoore @vivastory Great point! Beatrice and Dulcia would fit right into an Austen novel. I think the villagers‘ voices almost intensified the microcosmic perspective. The Edgeworths‘ world is made smaller by the closeness of their friends. 3w
LeahBergen I think the villagers gave us a bit of a window in to the characters in the Edgeworth house, too. 3w
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Billypar @vivastory Comic relief is definitely one function. I did wonder why she chose to have so many characters that didn't seem to serve a larger purpose. Was it just for verisimilitude- showing people interacting as parts of their own families and social circles, maybe? 3w
DrexEdit @LeahBergen I had a similar observation. The villagers are all pretty well defined characters in their own right but they don‘t talk about much besides the Edgeworths. 3w
JenniferP @Billypar I thought they built up the community and gave context to how the Edgeworths lived. They also served as outside commentary on the Edgeworth's life - a different perspective. 3w
Billypar @JenniferP Good thought! The numbers and lack of individuality could be the point: we see the family through the collective eyes of the community, not just individual perspectives. 3w
merelybookish Although it was initially confusing having all these people to keep track of, I think the insularity of just the members of the household would have been too much. Plus, what is an important household without people to impress and scandalize? And it was fun to see reactions to something like Alison by people both in and outside of the house. 3w
batsy Yes, I appreciated the inside/outside view. The villagers both gave us some relief from the Edgeworths and some insight into them. It felt like, yes, inside is bad, but outside is not much better ? A kind of ruthless comedy and skewering of the niceties of repetitive conversation in "polite society". 3w
BarbaraBB I‘ve mentioned in my review that I felt like reading a Shakespeare play with the community commenting on what happened in the family so that the reader could form their opinion based on different perspectives. 3w
GatheringBooks @merelybookish perfect description of the necessity of an outsider‘s perspective to “keep up with” or “scandalize” or “disappoint/impress.” Also provides some context abt the societal reality of the time: the hypersensitivity to other people‘s opinions, the desperation to keep up appearances to avoid other people‘s judgments - and the harshness/unfairness of those judgments that are routinely practiced/shared amongst each other in an endless loop. 3w
Liz_M Endless loop is a good phrase. If the events in the house are repeated, with variations, the villagers serve some of that same function -- variations that are also repetitions. 3w
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merelybookish
A House and Its Head | Ivy Compton-Burnett
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vivastory For me, Nance was definitely the closest to a moral center. Plus, she had some of the best lines. 😄 3w
Billypar In the first half I would have said Sibyl, but boy was that off the mark 😯 I think for me it was Dulcia- she was very earnest in trying to offer support, even if it was comical at times. 3w
saresmoore Ha! I, too, think Nance was probably the closest. But how about old Mrs. Jekyll? She didn‘t care much about decorum and what others thought, but she represented a sort of balanced view of things. She probably understood morality better than any of them, even if it didn‘t dictate her worldview. 3w
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Billypar I wonder what others made of Beatrice: she was moral I guess... but also weird. Was it just that she was religiously motivated or was she supposed to be a little eccentric too? She also became quieter as the novel went on, after the 'message of Christmas' business. 3w
vivastory @saresmoore I became really fond of Mrs. Jekyll. And I agree with you about her balanced view of things. 3w
saresmoore @Billypar If Dulcia is the moral one, I don‘t wanna be right! Haha! I appreciated Almeric for balancing her out, but when he left, I just couldn‘t stand Dulcia and her childish attempts at self-righteousness. 3w
vivastory @Billypar She was a bit too moral of you know what I mean 😅 #shadesofnedflanders 3w
Billypar @saresmoore @vivastory Lol - at first she was annoying but as it went on I started looking forward to her well -intentioned speeches. Totally Flanders-esque 😂 3w
LeahBergen I‘d have to side with @vivastory here. Nance was the closest to a moral centre for me, as well. And oh, man ... that Dulcia was annoying. 😂😂 @Billypar @saresmoore I wonder if ICB purposely chose a name that means “sweetness” in Latin? I bet she did. 😂😂 3w
mklong I would say that Beatrice and Dulcia would probably say they are the moral center, but Nance was the one whose observations cut to the heart of the matter. @billypar, I didn't really understand why Beatrice is there. In the second half, after Almeric left, Dulcia sort of took over her role as the self righteous center of the community, so I'm not sure why we needed both of those characters. 3w
vivastory @mklong Good point about Dulcia taking over Beatrice's role. I felt like several of Nance's observations could have been collected into aphorisms. 3w
saresmoore @Billypar I‘ve no doubt! She really is sweet, bless her heart. 😂 3w
vivastory @LeahBergen I didn't even think about that, but you're probably right 😂 3w
saresmoore @mklong I think the fact of Beatrice‘s superfluity is a point Burnett was trying to drive home. All the women were sort of seeking for purpose. 3w
mklong @saresmoore I hadn't thought of that, but you're right. There were very few roles for the women in the village. It makes Beatrice an even sadder case that, even in her limited role, she was usurped. And the poor thing probably thought Mr. Jeckyll would choose one of the pious ladies for a wife, but he went with acerbic Nance instead. Which, of course, made me like him more! 3w
saresmoore @mklong Well said! And it made me like him more, too! 3w
batsy I agree with others that Nance was the moral centre, for the purely selfish reason that I liked and related to her the most 😂 @saresmoore I like Mrs. Jekyll a lot; she grew on me and began to represent in a very lowkey way a kind of subtle authorial voice (it was probably just me reading it that way). I love the points you and @mklong make about Beatrice's superfluity and the women striving for some sort of recognition...very astute. 3w
BarbaraBB Well said @saresmoore and @mklong about Beatrice. I hadn‘t realized that myself although I wondered why she kind of drifted away in the second half of the book. Like @vivastory I could relate most to Nance as the moral center, although at first I also thought of Sybil, @Billypar ☺️ 3w
GatheringBooks i love all your observations here about the “moral epicenter” of the story. i hear you all about nance, too. anyone thought of the first mrs edgeworth who died of despair and heartbreak as the moral center (whatever that implies)? perhaps her death really illuminates the callousness of duncan and the choices each of the characters made in the wake of her tragic and untimely and totally preventable (perhaps) death. 3w
Billypar That's true @GatheringBooks - she wasn't around for very long but she may have been the moral glue holding the family together. Although Nance was my favorite as well, she does still seem to support Grant's return to Sybil due to the inheritance, even if she is reluctant. It's hard to say how Mrs. Edgeworth would have responded- maybe she would have supported the same choice to be able to have Sybil back, but it is interesting to consider. 3w
GatheringBooks @Billypar right? I also felt that her death seemed like an inconvenience to Duncan more than anything, which again reveals a great deal about his character. The genuine grief showed by her children is a clear contrast to the self-serving reaction of the “head of the house.” (edited) 3w
merelybookish @Gatheringbooks Such a great point about the loss of Ellen. It's like without her the house has no heart. Got me thinking about "home is where the heart is" and how different that feels from a "a head and its house" 3w
GatheringBooks @merelybookish oooh! i like this one. And duncan clearly is a *dick*head. Pun intended. 3w
emilyhaldi @Billypar @BarbaraBB Sybil was the only one keeping it real in the beginning!! And perhaps you could say she kept it real later too... She certainly didn't hold back in getting what she wanted, regardless of whatever sliver of a moral compass she may have possessed 😳 3w
Billypar @emilyhaldi I was quite surprised by the progression her character took. There were some early signs when she seemed a little jealous of Almeric's attention to Alison, but I thought it was a little crush, harmless. And then...🤤 3w
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merelybookish
A House and Its Head | Ivy Compton-Burnett
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vivastory Although the emphasis was on dialogue I felt like I still managed to get a sense of what the characters are really like, because of how brutally honest their conversation was at times. Even though it was lacking certainly elements that adds depth to a character, I thought that the observations of the other characters was effective for Burnett. 3w
Billypar Agreed @vivastory - there was more honesty and less pretense than I'm used to seeing in work from similar periods. The dialogue is funny and sometimes cutting - it's true that having more of it didn't necessarily reveal hidden depths, but they did feel very real and well-drawn. 3w
saresmoore I felt like a fly on the wall, which I kind of loved—all the dialogue without extra context made it feel almost voyeuristic. But I also really appreciated how it forced me to pay attention and observe the minute details in order to understand the atmosphere. I feel I know these characters extremely well now. (edited) 3w
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vivastory @Billypar Well-drawn is a great way to describe it! I was reminded of Beckett with a better sense of humor. 3w
vivastory @saresmoore That's a really great point! In his section on Burnett in "Novel: A Biography" Schmidt points out that in her novels, including this one, a lot of the major dramatic events happen "between the chapters" so to speak. 3w
DrexEdit I haven‘t finished reading yet, so this may be an incomplete observation, but I thought it was interesting to note which characters did more talking than others. Almeric was the quietest, Duncan spoke mostly in declarative, Sybil mostly in questions, and Dulcia would. Not. Shut. Up. 3w
saresmoore @vivastory That‘s a great way of putting it. We didn‘t get any more details than Dulcia or Beatrice, most of the time. It‘s a fascinating dynamic, almost like a story told from the perspective of a whole cast of unreliable narrators! 3w
saresmoore @DrexEdit Oh, well-observed! I hadn‘t even thought about that. It‘s another dimension of the character. 3w
Billypar @saresmoore A fly on the wall is a great way to describe it. It was interesting to just focus on the dialogue content and use the subtle hints to create inflection and delivery. 3w
mklong It was pretty unexpected to read a novel where you get no internal dialogue. Even watching a play, you get a soliloquy here and there to show a character's internal thoughts. All we get here is what is said aloud. It made them all harder to read to me, since I could never be sure if and what was going on that wasn't said. 3w
LeahBergen I was actually surprised at how well I came to know some of the characters, just through how they were discussed and spoken to by others. What a deceptively clever way of telling a story! I felt like I was plodding on through a lot of chatter at first and then all of a sudden, these characters coalesced into an entertaining whole. 3w
DrexEdit It was almost like reading a play, wasn‘t it? You have all the dialogue but have to imagine the sets and stage action. 3w
Billypar @DrexEdit Good point - this seemed very deliberate. There's often a group of people but just like in life some people monopolize the conversation (cough--Dulcia--cough 😉) 3w
vivastory @DrexEdit Very much like reading a play, for sure. That's a great point about the way the characters talk 👍 3w
DrexEdit @mklong good point. We really got no idea of these people's inner thoughts. It creates a distance, I think. 3w
saresmoore @LeahBergen That was my experience, too. 3w
Leftcoastzen Sorry I‘m late to the party, people were going to help me with major yard work, showed up when you went live.I did have to adjust to the style ,more like reading a play or listening in outside the door.It has a Victorian decay slips into brutally honest modernism in an interesting way. 3w
JenniferP I'm also late to the discussion! I found the dialogue interesting at first, but fatiguing after a while. I feel the same way with overly descriptive books. I did think that she did a good job of distinguishing everyone's speaking voices though. That was appreciated. And in a way, I liked that we were limited to observing what people were actually speaking instead of knowing their inner thoughts.
3w
merelybookish Wow, so many good comments! @saresmoore @vivastory @billyparr @LeahBergen @drexit I read an interview with ICB where she was asked about her style and how it's like a play. She said she could never write a play because it wouldn't be long enough. So that was interesting. How the length (and tedium) is important to her overall purpose. 3w
saresmoore Ooh, that is interesting! 3w
merelybookish Love your point about the style of dialogue for each character @drexit. 3w
Billypar I just read an interview between her and Margaret Jourdain - she's got some very funny lines, not unlike Nance. And she goes into some detail about why all the dialogue and no descriptions (that part comes after fielding all these questions about her influences): http://www.turtlepointpress.com/traveltainted/a-conversation-between-i-compton-b... 3w
Reviewsbylola So somehow I totally missed getting this book and I didn‘t realize it until three days ago. 🤦🏼‍♀️😭 3w
batsy I felt like @saresmoore & @LeahBergen with my experience of reading it. I was all at sea at the start but then it started to gel; it felt exactly like getting to know a person (or a whole group of people). Instead of a tidy narrative about what these people are like, you're dropped right into the ugliness of it. You get to see them for how they are vs how they want you to see them, in a way? 😆 I felt like I got a more ruthless insight into them. 3w
batsy @merelybookish Interesting point about the tedium and @vivastory making a comparison to Beckett. I've yet to read Beckett but I remember seeing a tweet once about how the most interesting books tend to be "boring" and that tweet always stuck with me. I feel like that really speaks to this novel, as well, though I'm hard-pressed to explain *how* she did it ? 3w
batsy @Billypar Thank you for that! I'm going to read in a bit 3w
BarbaraBB I agree with @mklong in feeling like you know nothing about anyone‘s thoughts, which is interesting because that almost never happens in books. On the other hand you learned a bit about them by the gossip of the others. As a reader you were forced to decide how reliable the gossiping character was. I loved that. Also I loved how much could be revealed in one single sentence. You really had to stay focussed! 3w
GatheringBooks apologies for being late for the party. sunday is our first day of the work week here in the middle east. i agree with the observation of @Leftcoastzen about it being like a play (shakespearian is how it was described in the afterword). all the dialogues in the beginning tho were difficult to follow: not sure who is saying who and what. did anyone take notes to follow what was being said by whom? bec it was just confusing and tedious initially. 3w
GatheringBooks @BarbaraBB I also agree with the multiple unreliable narrators as evidenced in the dialogue which is how the plot of the story unfolds and the point made by @batsy as to a more ruthless insight re the characters based on their dialogues is also true. yet i also did not care too much about any of the characters at all, as the ruthlessness can also reach a point of absurdity and incredulity almost - theatrical if you may. 3w
youneverarrived @DrexEdit that‘s an excellent point. Just like in real life like @Billypar said. I think she did a good job at making the characters distinct but at the same time I really did find it difficult to read, and usually I enjoy dialogue heavy books. It might have been the characters in general that I didn‘t gel with. 3w
Liz_M This book didn't work for me. I never found the right focus and couldn't tell the characters apart. It was a little worse than reading a play, because there at least the formatting is very clear about who is saying what. I would love to reread this as an audiobook because, like in a performance, tone of voice would provide so much of the missing context. 3w
Liz_M Also I was annoyed that once Almeric disappeared his deprecating lines about his sister are just transferred to the pastor and that seemed out of character. 3w
GatheringBooks @Liz_M I am in the same camp. I wanted desperately to like it, but I didn‘t have the brain power nor the patience to remember all the names, who they are, and why they say what they are saying. none are sympathetic enough for me to want to care to find out even. altho i did get who the characters were eventually, it was through sheer willpower bec we will have this discussion rather than a desire to get to know the characters for their own sake. 3w
emilyhaldi I found it kind of interesting to infer the personalities of each character through the dialogue instead of being told directly by the author. It's an entirely different reading experience... One that requires more patience and diligence than I am typically used to giving 😂😅 3w
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DrexEdit
A House and Its Head | Ivy Compton-Burnett
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"So the children are not down yet?" said Ellen Edgeworth.

#FirstLineFridays

Not the most intriguing of first lines maybe. But having read a good portion of the book so far this brilliantly encapsulates the style and foreshadows much upcoming action.

Thanks for making me go back and look at this @ShyBookOwl ! ?

ShyBookOwl 😊 thx for sharing your line! 3w
batsy It's a good one! The foreshadowing and the repetition 👍🏽 3w
BarbaraBB We‘re discussing this book later today here on Litsy. Maybe you‘ll like to join? Check out #NYRBBookClub! 3w
DrexEdit @BarbaraBB I‘m going to try. I‘ve been mostly lurking in your hashtag group, but you read such wonderful books and I hope to not just lurk and take advantage of your hospitality! I‘ll be much closer to done by this afternoon! 😊 (edited) 3w
BarbaraBB You‘re more than welcome ❤️ 3w
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review
mklong
A House and Its Head | Ivy Compton-Burnett
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Mehso-so

Finished up at lunch today, and it grew on me a bit in the second half, so I‘m glad that I persevered. I can‘t quite forgive Compton-Burnett for boring me so much for 150 pages or so, so this isn‘t a full pick. I know a lot of you loved it, so I really can‘t wait for the #NYRBBookClub discussion Saturday. I‘m always interested to hear from readers who got so much more out of a book than I did.

BarbaraBB I love that you fond it boring! Looking forward to our discussion too 💕 3w
Cinfhen Your lunch looks delicious 3w
LeahBergen That looks tasty! 3w
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Suet624 Congratulations on making it all the way through. 3w
mklong @Cinfhen and @LeahBergen Thanks ladies, it was delicious. Those earthy beets with the crisp, sweet oranges was a great combo. 3w
batsy I'm looking forward to seeing everyone's comments! Strangely enough, I liked the boring aspects of it. Like it really captured the minutiae of domestic "bliss" ? 3w
merelybookish I'm impressed you managed to arrive at so-so. Based on your previous post, I was pretty sure you would hate it. 😆 3w
Nute That salad looks yummy! 2w
52 likes8 comments
blurb
mklong
A House and Its Head | Ivy Compton-Burnett
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Hmmmmm, help me out #NYRBBookClub friends. The back cover promised me murder, extortion, and adultery but halfway through all I really see is endless conversation about seating arrangements and appropriate forms of address. Should I stick around for the murder and extortion bits or give up now?

Reviewsbylola Oh great, sounds like I may hate this one. 😬 3w
vivastory Personally I loved it, but if you're not into it by the halfway point I don't think you'll change your mind. 3w
merelybookish Ditto Scott. Those things do happen but do little to change the tone or pace of the novel. 3w
See All 10 Comments
mklong @Reviewsbylola 😂 Most everyone else seemed to love it, so maybe you will too 3w
mklong @vivastory @merelybookish Thanks y‘all. I only have about a hundred pages left, so I think I‘ll finish. I really need Dulcia to stop talking though. I suppose, for now, I can hope that she will be the murder victim! 🤣 3w
BarbaraBB Haha! She is horrible but so are most of them! Good luck finishing it! 3w
youneverarrived 😂 I would have give up on it if not for bookclub. 3w
LeahBergen I read that bit about murder on the back cover and then hoped for the brutal killing of several of the characters while I read it. 😆😆 3w
saresmoore @LeahBergen 😂 I didn‘t read the back and still hoped for that! 3w
51 likes10 comments
review
Billypar
A House and Its Head | Ivy Compton-Burnett
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Pickpick

#nyrbbookclub
If you asked Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde to write a sitcom, this might be the result. You can hear the laugh track after Nance counters her father's rudeness with sardonic barbs, or after the dopey commentary of curious neighbors who react to the soap opera plot twists. The comic banter isn't a diversion, it's the core of the novel: dialogue is all we have, which gives it a lightness, even as it probes the darker sides of society.

Liz_M That is a brilliant picture! 4w
Billypar @Liz_M Thanks! It's a compulsion I have with certain covers... https://litsy.com/p/WjM3TlNna2lP 4w
See All 16 Comments
LeahBergen Great review and photo! 👏🏻 4w
readordierachel Clever photo! 4w
vivastory Wonderful review, & echoing others, a great picture! 4w
Cathythoughts Great pic 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 4w
saresmoore This review is on point! 🔥 4w
BarbaraBB Very good review! 4w
ReadingEnvy I have another book by this author on my shelf 4w
Billypar @ReadingEnvy I never heard of her before she was this month's pick. It looks like nyrb has one other of hers - 'Manservant and Maidservant'. 3w
Suet624 I bailed on this but now your review makes me want to pick it up again. Nice job! 3w
Billypar @Suet624 I definitely wouldn't say it's a book for everyone, but it does pick up after a bit of a slow start. 3w
merelybookish Great review. I read an article that described how characters use humour to oppress and as self-defense in her novels. 3w
Billypar @merelybookish That sounds like an interesting idea- I think that dynamic was definitely there. Something to discuss tomorrow, among lots of other stuff 🙂 3w
47 likes16 comments
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Liz_M
A House and Its Head | Ivy Compton-Burnett
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I'm cat-sitting and it didn't take long for Bert to usurp my reading spot and declare himself as the head of the house. 😸
#catsoflitsy

Leftcoastzen So cute! 😻 4w
LeahBergen 😆😆 4w
arubabookwoman Bert is the twin of my Dinah. 4w
Liz_M @arubabookwoman She's also a Russian Blue? 4w
27 likes4 comments
blurb
vivastory
A House and Its Head | Ivy Compton-Burnett
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#NYRBBookClub join my co-host @merelybookish & I Sat Feb 1 @ 3 MST as we discuss Ivy Compton-Burnett's book. And, as always, all on Litsy are welcome to join in the discussion. Except Duncan. He is definitely not welcome.

merelybookish I don't know. Might be fun to tell Duncan off! 😉 4w
See All 20 Comments
vivastory @merelybookish True! Nance was great at that. 4w
Suet624 I‘ll check in, but I had to bail on this one. 😳 4w
mklong Yay, I‘m actually free that afternoon so hopefully I can join in the live discussion instead of chiming in late 4w
Leftcoastzen If someone hit Duncan on the head with an iron skillet, and he died,would anyone tell who did it or just say “Finally,thanks!”😼 4w
Theaelizabet This one was interesting, but a bad match for my current life. My brain couldn‘t cope. 🙄 I‘ve not yet finished it, but will check in, too. 4w
saresmoore @merelybookish He‘d merely choose that moment to plead temporary deafness. 😆 4w
sprainedbrain Yet another one that I couldn‘t get from the library in time. 🙃 4w
LeahBergen @Leftcoastzen You‘re on to something here. It‘s ripe for a standard “country house murder” sequel where the old bastard is killed off and everyone has a motive. 😆 4w
Leftcoastzen @LeahBergen 😂🙌👏 4w
JenniferP Oh, I‘m so glad it‘s feb 1 instead of this weekend. Now I‘m still hopeful I can get it read in time! 4w
GatheringBooks looking forward to it! 💕📚📚📚 4w
Billypar @LeahBergen I love it 😅😅 I don't know if Ivy Compton-Burnett fan fiction exists, but if not, I think you should pioneer it. 4w
batsy @Billypar @LeahBergen Excellent idea 😆 4w
Reviewsbylola Ok gotta get to it. 😆 4w
BarbaraBB Thanks, I‘m not sure yet if I‘ll make it (late in the evening here) but I will definitely check in to see what‘s left of Duncan once he‘s being analyzed here 😂 4w
Aimeesue I have pneumonia, and am definitely lacking in brain power, so I I'll be missing out on this discussion, unfortunately. I look forward to reading all your comments later, though! 3w
vivastory @Aimeesue I'm sorry to hear that! I hope you recover quickly! Take care of yourself. 3w
66 likes20 comments
review
youneverarrived
A House and Its Head | Ivy Compton-Burnett
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Panpan

It felt like a chore to pick this up. Once I did & got into it it was fine but not enjoyable. You have to really get with the rhythm of the book to follow it as there‘s a few too many characters. It‘s true to life in that they talk over each other etc but that works better in visual form over reading imo. I was a complete observer reading it. Not interested or immersed in the story or characters on any level. Not my cup of tea. ⭐️⭐️ #nyrbbookclub

vivastory The visual aspect is interesting. I think it would make an interesting play. 4w
LeahBergen I‘ve been waiting for someone to pan this! I read (somewhere?) that ICB is an author you either love or loathe so I‘ve been quite surprised at so many of our book club members enjoying it. It was a pick for me. 😄 4w
merelybookish This is definitely a book I can appreciate not liking ! The style is weird and most of the characters are awful. Thanks for slogging through! Makes sense ICB is a love or hate writer @LeahBergen 4w
See All 6 Comments
youneverarrived @vivastory I think it might work better in that format. 4w
youneverarrived @LeahBergen I‘m glad you said that, I was starting to think I was just odd for not liking it 😂 4w
youneverarrived @merelybookish the style and the characters were the reason I didn‘t click with it. I usually like a lot of dialogue in books but it just didn‘t work for me. Looking forward to the discussion 💙 4w
58 likes6 comments
blurb
saresmoore
A House and Its Head | Ivy Compton-Burnett
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This growing a baby business is no joke. I just entered my second trimester, but the nausea won‘t quit! Still, I‘m thankful for moments like this when Elphaba and Glenda play a round of Life and I get to read between the lines in this painfully original novel.

TrishB Congrats 🎉🎉 I don‘t know whether I missed it previously. Hope you‘re feeling better soon. It‘s no joke that nausea. 😘😘 1mo
charl08 Hope you feel better soon. Lovely costumes they've got going. Were they witches in the board game too?! 1mo
saresmoore @TrishB Thank you! 💗 And yes, the nausea is brutal. It lasted through the entirety of my first two pregnancies, so I‘m hoping this one will be different! 1mo
See All 17 Comments
saresmoore @charl08 Yes! They have a whole storyline going based on Wicked. They‘re on the second round now, with a new generation of characters, who each started with an inheritance. 😂 1mo
Cathythoughts I still remember the nausea after all these years .... nausea & heartburn were my two big ones ... the nausea is a good sign though , of a healthy pregnancy ❤️👍🏻take care 1mo
saresmoore @Cathythoughts Yes, the heartburn, too! Thank you, that is a really good thing to remember. ♥️ 1mo
kspenmoll Congrats on your pregnancy! You will feel better! Sorry you suffer so much with nausea. Does anything work? Saltines? Sending you ❤️. Glad your kids are playing Life so you can rest & read. We loved life in our house! 1mo
Redwritinghood Growing a baby is hard work! I tell everyone that being pregnant with my twins was the most physically challenging thing I‘ve ever done. Glad you have a little relaxation time. 1mo
saresmoore @kspenmoll Thank you! Eating sometimes helps, but mostly I just ride it out. My kiddos love Life, though they bend some of the rules to thwart the more patriarchal leanings of the game. 😆 1mo
saresmoore @Redwritinghood I just don‘t know how you survived a multiples pregnancy! One is about as much as I think my body can handle! 1mo
LeahBergen Hope the nausea ends soon! And it looks like the book is ending soon for you. 😆 1mo
saresmoore @LeahBergen Is it weird that I‘m loving it?! Such a trainwreck! 1mo
batsy Oh no! That sounds so difficult. I hope it eases up for you soon 💜 1mo
youneverarrived Hope it eases up soon ❤️ 4w
saresmoore @batsy @youneverarrived Thank you, friends! ♥️ 4w
valeriegeary I'm late to this party but congrats!! ❤️ 4w
Suet624 Oh honey bunny. 💕💕💕 I‘m sorry. 4w
96 likes17 comments
review
sisilia
A House and Its Head | Ivy Compton-Burnett
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Pickpick

3⭐️ Imagine the casts of Downton Abbey being extremely chatty, and a social circle that is filled with nosey individuals who are equally chatty, and you get the feel of this novel. Not an easy book for me, especially with so many characters and the distinct writing style #nyrbclassics #nyrbbookclub

Leftcoastzen So nosey! Great review, it is difficult to get into the writing in this book.My brain eventually adapted .😂 1mo
sisilia @Leftcoastzen I felt the pain 😅 I‘m so happy that I‘m reading “normal” writing now 1mo
merelybookish I also thought of Downtown Abbey reading this but dipped in acid. 4w
sisilia @merelybookish 😂 Well said! 4w
62 likes4 comments
review
batsy
A House and Its Head | Ivy Compton-Burnett
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Pickpick

I don't know what I was expecting with this--maybe a tidy Victorian family drama. Instead what I got was a strange, dark, acerbic dialogue-heavy novel that reads like a play about the savagery of domestic life & family relations. On one level the language felt Shakespearian; on another level it read like some vicious Jacobean tragedy. I can't quite define this & I'm enthralled by the author's unorthodox mind. Shit's real messed up! #nyrbbookclub

batsy (Pardon my language 💀) 1mo
batsy Also I feel like this has lowkey #spinsterlit vibes. In its essence. 🙃 1mo
Tanisha_A Fabulous review! When will I get to NYRBs, life is so short! 😱 1mo
See All 25 Comments
mklong Love this review! I‘m starting tonight. 1mo
emilyhaldi I agree!!! I expected something so entirely different. It's made me so curious about Compton-Burnett... Her background is fascinating. Of 8 sisters none ever married, none of the (12) siblings ever had children, and in fact 2 sisters committed suicide together. Sounds like it was a somewhat dark family life.. 1mo
Leftcoastzen Great review,it felt so weird to be in that claustrophobic world.I‘ve never read anything quite like it. 1mo
batsy @Tanisha_A Thanks, friend! I hope you can get to them soon 🤯 #somanybooks 1mo
batsy @mklong Thank you, I look forward to your thoughts! 1mo
batsy @emilyhaldi Oh wow, I did not know that. That is so sad. And yes, that sheds some light on the kind of domestic life she writes about. 1mo
batsy @Leftcoastzen Yes, well put! Claustrophobic, intense, the feeling of being trapped. 1mo
youneverarrived Great review 🙌 I feel like I‘m missing something with this book as I‘m just not liking it much. 1mo
readordierachel Love this review 😃 Totally sold 1mo
LeahBergen Yes, I felt the same #spinsterlit vibe, too! 1mo
Suet624 @emilyhaldi wow. That‘s quite telling, isn‘t it? 1mo
Suet624 I have to admit, I couldn‘t take it. 1mo
saresmoore Excellent review! I think you nailed it! 1mo
Reggie I should know better, but stacked because of this grab me by the collar and shake me review. 1mo
batsy @youneverarrived Thank you! I understand you and @Suet624 being less than enamoured of it, it's a tough/weird read at times 1mo
batsy @readordierachel @Reggie Thank you friends, and I don't want to lead you astray. I loved it but the books I love are weird af 😅 1mo
batsy @saresmoore Thank you 😘 1mo
batsy @LeahBergen Yay, I'm so happy to hear I'm not alone in that 🙂 1mo
Centique Excellent review! I hear ya about recommending books and then also warning people. I feel like all my reccs should come with a caveat - “remember she likes some long boring af books this girl” 😂 4w
batsy @Centique Hahaha, that's perfect! I need to include that caveat 😂 4w
batsy Oooh sorry @BarbaraBB @Librarybelle forgot to mention that this was my UK entry for #readingeurope2020 🙈 3w
Librarybelle No worries! 3w
98 likes5 stack adds25 comments
review
Leftcoastzen
A House and Its Head | Ivy Compton-Burnett
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Pickpick

#NYRBBookClub Yeah Ivy, I see what you are getting at.If I lived near these people I‘d never come down for breakfast & probably run away from home.

vivastory 😂So true 1mo
LeahBergen I‘d pop by to give them a true Christmas greeting. 😂😂 1mo
BarbaraBB Hahaha! Great review! 1mo
See All 6 Comments
BarbaraBB @LeahBergen She was so funny 😂 1mo
batsy 🤣 Best review! 1mo
batsy @LeahBergen Lololol 1mo
58 likes6 comments
quote
vivastory
A House and Its Head | Ivy Compton-Burnett
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I love the aphoristic quality that certain conversations in this book take.
#NYRBBookClub

58 likes1 stack add
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saresmoore
A House and Its Head | Ivy Compton-Burnett
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“I consent to be enrolled in the army of superfluous spinsters...”

⚡️#NYRBBookClub

Louise Oh, my! 🙄 1mo
vivastory Nance is my favorite so far 1mo
saresmoore @Louise Right? 😆 It was said with much sarcasm and a little disdain for the person who implied that single women are more expendable than wives. This book is keeping me on my toes! 1mo
See All 14 Comments
saresmoore @vivastory Mine, too. Though I also quite like Gretchen (Mrs. Jekyll). They each have a sharp way of speaking truth. 1mo
Louise Thank goodness the book is satirical! 😂 1mo
saresmoore @Louise Almost painfully so! 1mo
Suet624 That‘s my motto! 1mo
kalinichta Oh my god, that sticker! 😻 1mo
saresmoore @Suet624 Me, too! 1mo
kalinichta @saresmoore Ooo, excellent. Thank you! 1mo
LeahBergen I loved this line. 😆 1mo
batsy I love it and I love Nance! There's an essence of #spinsterlit about this novel 💁🏾‍♀️ 1mo
saresmoore @batsy I‘m about halfway through and that #spinsterlit vibe is in full force with the juxtaposition of the new stepmother and the similarly aged unmarried daughters. I‘m feeling a bit anxious about it; the men are odious, but I don‘t doubt that one or more of these ladies could go off the deep end... 1mo
88 likes2 stack adds14 comments
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Aimeesue
A House and Its Head | Ivy Compton-Burnett
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Well, that certainly is an interesting family dynamic. 😳
#NYRBBookclub

LeahBergen Ain‘t it, though? 😆 1mo
Leftcoastzen 😂😂😂not done yet , but I hear you! 1mo
41 likes2 comments
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emilyhaldi
A House and Its Head | Ivy Compton-Burnett
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Duncan comin in hot this morning!
#NYRBbookclub

vivastory What a tool! 1mo
vivastory I'm going to start it tonight or tomorrow morning 1mo
Leftcoastzen 😂😂😂Duncan is a tool! 1mo
See All 15 Comments
LeahBergen Oh, Duncan. He‘s such a dick. 😆😆 1mo
BarbaraBB He is so horrible 😂. Do you like the book? (edited) 1mo
emilyhaldi I do!! @BarbaraBB it took me a minute to get into the rhythm but I‘m quite enjoying the personality quirks of each of the characters 😂 1mo
BarbaraBB Duncan is not the only one horrible 😂 1mo
merelybookish Glad to hear your into it! Reviews seem a bit mixed so far. Like @vivastory hoping to start tonight. 1mo
Leftcoastzen I am enjoying it however I couldn‘t stand to live anywhere near these people !😂🙄 1mo
batsy @emilyhaldi I feel the same; I'm "loving" it but hating the men so much! 1mo
batsy I'm nearing the end and maybe I have to take back what I said about the men being the worst 😳 1mo
BarbaraBB @batsy Quite surprising right?! 1mo
batsy @BarbaraBB 💀💀 1mo
emilyhaldi I know right?! @batsy @BarbaraBB things took a bit of a turn that I was not expecting! 1mo
Mdargusch 😆😆😆 4w
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sisilia
A House and Its Head | Ivy Compton-Burnett
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Dejavu!

LeahBergen Yep! 😆😆 1mo
TheSpineView 😂 1mo
52 likes2 comments
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saresmoore
A House and Its Head | Ivy Compton-Burnett
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“We have nothing more to get out of it,” said Gretchen. “I don‘t know why we make all this of a funeral. We are all sure to have one. Mine is too near for me to fuss about someone else‘s. I hope you will enjoy it as much as this.”

😆 Gretchen! #NYRBBookClub

saresmoore Also, I‘m loving Almeric with the zingers. 1mo
batsy The comedy and the devastating events/relationships—it's so unlike any book I've read, I feel. 1mo
Leftcoastzen With a name like Almeric , you have to have something going for you! @saresmoore 1mo
See All 12 Comments
LeahBergen I liked Gretchen. 😆 1mo
Suet624 Having a little trouble with this one. I thought I had 2 more weeks to read this, but I just realized today that our monthly Q&A will probably be this coming weekend so now I have to hustle and get past page 35! 1mo
saresmoore @batsy Same. At times, I find it frustrating and have to put it down, but I keep coming back to it. I have no idea what happens in the remaining pages, but I‘ll be disappointed if Duncan doesn‘t die some horrible death. 😬 1mo
saresmoore @Leftcoastzen Too true! Also with a sister like Dulcia! 🙄 1mo
saresmoore @LeahBergen She‘s the only character I‘d care to spend time with, mostly because I know she‘d leave me alone. 1mo
saresmoore @Suet624 I think I‘ll be struggling to finish on time, too. It requires a lot of concentration for me to keep the characters straight, but I suppose I‘ll get more used to them. 1mo
Leftcoastzen It‘s weird in that sometimes I lock into the rhythm of it and enjoy it , then I can‘t focus on it and put it down for awhile. 1mo
emilyhaldi I feel the same way! @Leftcoastzen it's not the easiest book to pick up in small doses 1mo
Suet624 I think I might have given up on it. @Leftcoastzen 1mo
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batsy
A House and Its Head | Ivy Compton-Burnett
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King Lear is practically a cuddly bear compared to Duncan, the father in this story. #nyrbbookclub

TrishB 😱😱 1mo
saresmoore Oh, he‘s awful! 1mo
See All 8 Comments
BiblioLitten This paragraph feels similar to the ones I read in 1mo
BarbaraBB He is horrible. He‘s not the only one 😂 1mo
LeahBergen He‘s loathsome. 😠 1mo
batsy @BiblioLitten Ooh, that's interesting! I want to read that one :) 1mo
batsy @BarbaraBB @LeahBergen Just ughhhhh! 1mo
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sisilia
A House and Its Head | Ivy Compton-Burnett
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I‘m halfway and haven‘t found the love for this 😣 #nyrbclassics #nyrbbookclub

emilyhaldi I'm halfway and still not quite sure what I think 🤔 maybe bc I'm focusing so hard on sorting through the various characters and dialogue that I don't have room for thinking much else 😆 1mo
sisilia @emilyhaldi I feel exactly the same 🙈 1mo
65 likes2 comments
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Leftcoastzen
A House and Its Head | Ivy Compton-Burnett
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These people 🙄yap yap yap yap!Or maybe my mind is just slow at shifting gears .I am reading a stream of consciousness novel then switch to this ,which is mostly dialogue.Beatrice and her Christmas Day greetings , I‘d douse the candles , pull the curtains, and pretend I wasn‘t home.#NYRBBookClub

LeahBergen So would I! 😆😆 1mo
batsy 😂 1mo
saresmoore Yes! These characters are abhorrent, each in their own special way. 1mo
See All 9 Comments
emilyhaldi I would be on guard for Beatrice at all times and hide at the earliest indication of her advances 🙄 1mo
Louise Is that bookmark from Changing Hands in Tempe, AZ? Tugs at my heartstrings with memories of student days! 😍 (edited) 1mo
Leftcoastzen @Louise Yes ! They are still going strong.The flagship store is still in Tempe , lovely 2ND store in central Phoenix with a coffee ,tea, beer wine and a small bites bar. 1mo
Louise Oh, how wonderful! I attended so many readings there and spent so many hours browsing! Mainly, I was there when they were on Mill Ave., but I did later visit the new big store in Tempe. Sounds like they are really doing well! Glad to hear it! ❤️ 1mo
Leftcoastzen @Louise I‘m an oldie too . I was raised here so I remember the mill ave shop so well , it‘s quirkyness .If I could time travel would love to browse those shelves again. 1mo
Louise Yes! And the open poetry nights when people would break out in improvised song! Halcyon days and nights! 1mo
60 likes9 comments
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batsy
A House and Its Head | Ivy Compton-Burnett
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@BarbaraBB I really like that you pointed out that this is almost Shakespearean, in language & in form (the pinging dialogue). This reminds me of how I tried to read Compton-Burnett in my 20s & couldn't hack it. I'm appreciating it so much now but it's a hard read—challenging. The dark humour! Like a Shakespearean drama about family tyrannies & violence overheard at the table at the Mad Hatter's tea party.
#NYRBbookclub @merelybookish @vivastory

merelybookish This makes me both excited and trepidatious. 😛 (Haven't started yet because of reading deprivation. 😔) 1mo
batsy @merelybookish Hang in there, the week is almost over! And this book! So frustrating but so good thus far. I don't know what I'm in for 😅 1mo
BarbaraBB And in between these dialogues the most awful things happen in one single sentence. It requests so much concentration! But the outcome is rewarding, I think! 1mo
See All 14 Comments
LeahBergen It really benefits from a “plough right through” reading approach (that‘s what I did). Once you get into the flow of it, just keep on going. 😆 1mo
batsy @BarbaraBB Omg yes, so much happens in a single sentence! 😂 1mo
batsy @LeahBergen You're so right, that's what I feel too. I need to set aside a chunk of time for this one instead of fitting in bits and pieces throughout the day. 1mo
Cathythoughts I have this stacked ! Looking forward to it 1mo
youneverarrived @LeahBergen I was thinking that might be why I‘m not enjoying it as much. It takes a while to get into it once I start reading but I‘ve not read for long, just here and there. (edited) 1mo
Liz_M Thanks for all the comments ladies! Clearly this is NOT a subway book and I should read it today when I hunker down for the snow storm. 1mo
batsy @Cathythoughts Definitely interested to see what you think! 1mo
batsy @Liz_M Not a subway book I'm thinking :) I find myself needing quiet and lots of time. 1mo
saresmoore What a brilliant comparison! I‘m absolutely loving it. 1mo
Billypar I'm a little late getting to this one (only through chapter 2), but it's so funny to hear you and @BarbaraBB calling it Shakespearean because I was thinking the same thing. My brain is doing what I see actors do in Shakespeare plays - inventing these comic deliveries that I think work even if I have no clue of I'm reading it 'correctly'...amuses me at any rate 😁 1mo
batsy @Billypar Yes, I found it really helpful to read it as a play ... Just to abandon the expectations I would have had with a traditional narrative in a novel. And I found I really clicked with the style :) 1mo
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Suet624
A House and Its Head | Ivy Compton-Burnett
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The downside of ordering through discount stores is that you don‘t always get the fancy NYRB covers. The upside, though, is that you get to see the history of the book you actually received. This came from the University of the Pacific and was only checked out once. In 1985. And the date almost coincides with the date I received it. 😳😳. #NYRBbookclub

ljuliel Karma. It was meant for you. 1mo
Djspens I used to only buy new books, now I order from Better World Books or Thrift books. I love seeing where my books come from! 1mo
BarbaraBB Such a beautiful edition too! 1mo
See All 11 Comments
readordierachel It makes me kind of sad that it was only checked out once 😢 1mo
LeahBergen Poor book! 😢 1mo
Suet624 @ljuliel Apparently!! 1mo
Suet624 @Djspens I agree with you. This book came from Better World Books. I really like ordering through them. Sometimes, though, they advertise the book as having a different cover. In the case, I would have liked the NYRB edition. But it's all good and the price can't be beat! 1mo
Suet624 @readordierachel @leahbergen I know, right? Why only one reader??? 1mo
Leftcoastzen I‘m old enough to remember the little card pockets & stamp pages of Library books .sigh.Interesting copy , who published it? 1mo
Suet624 @Leftcoastzen it seems to me that Vermont just got rid of their pockets maybe nine years ago. I also just noticed that the library purchased the book in 1967 and it took until the 1980‘s to be borrowed. It was published in London by Victor Gollancz Ltd. in 1966. (edited) 1mo
Leftcoastzen Thought it looked older & British!😂 1mo
68 likes11 comments
blurb
GatheringBooks
A House and Its Head | Ivy Compton-Burnett
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#AuldLangReads Day 17: Duncan definitely qualifies as an #ObnoxiousCharacter. I am trudging through this. Too many characters, making it difficult for me to track who‘s who. The dialogues, notwithstanding the refreshingly witty banter, non-sequiturs and absurdities - get tiresome after awhile. Still not giving up, tho. Hoping it will pick up somewhere in the middle over the weekend. #NYRBBookClub

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks I hope so!! 🤞🏻🤞🏻🤞🏻 1mo
OriginalCyn620 Hope it will! 1mo
youneverarrived The amount of characters is putting me off picking it up. I keep going to read something else instead. But hopefully it gets easier to follow. 1mo
emilyhaldi Tiresome is the word for this I think... But I also got rolling with it yesterday and became quite invested! 1mo
65 likes4 comments
review
BarbaraBB
A House and Its Head | Ivy Compton-Burnett
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Pickpick

Sometimes it seemed as if I was reading a Shakespeare play. The story largely consists of (often very funny and sarcastic) drawing room dialogues, in which a chorus of supporting roles comment on what‘s happening in the Edgeworth family.
And a lot IS happening in this family, where no one is what he appears to be. Except maybe for the father. Well done, but a hundred or so pages too long for me.

#NYRBBookClub #ATY2020 week 3

batsy Nice review! I'm properly intrigued now and can't wait to start, hopefully this weekend. 1mo
Megabooks Great review! 1mo
youneverarrived I was thinking the same. I feel like I‘m reading a play. 1mo
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LeahBergen Exactly what I was thinking last night as I read! It definitely has a Shakespearean feel to how the language flows. 1mo
Suet624 I‘m hoping to start this tonight. I can‘t tell if I‘m looking forward to it or not but I‘m glad you gave it a 👍🏼 1mo
BarbaraBB @Suet624 Between a so-so and a pick to be honest! 1mo
Suet624 Yes, that‘s what I figured. 1mo
vivastory Wonderful review, as always. I'm going to start it next week. 1mo
saresmoore Great review! 1mo
BarbaraBB @saresmoore Thanks, I‘m glad you‘re enjoying it too! 1mo
mklong Couldn‘t agree more about it being about a hundred pages too long! 3w
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sisilia
A House and Its Head | Ivy Compton-Burnett
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Starting this today ☺️ #nyrbclassics #nyrbbookclub

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LeahBergen
A House and Its Head | Ivy Compton-Burnett
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I‘m still on chapter one and I already want to give Duncan a resounding slap at the breakfast table.

Anyone else? 😆

#NYRBBookClub

Mdargusch Great cover! I‘ve given up on NYRB books. 1mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Beautiful photo as always 💗 1mo
LeahBergen @Mdargusch 😆😆 Actually, there‘s one that we read that I think you‘d like. It‘s a little noirish and reminded me (a bit) of The Blank Wall. 1mo
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emilyhaldi I agree with you Leah about @Mdargusch liking Judith Hearne! I haven't started this book yet and I'm traveling this weekend so it's going to be a mad dash to the finish line 😩😅 1mo
sisilia Duncan is annoying... I read the first two pages and I looked like this 👉🏻🤨🙄 I mean, what‘s the agitation about the children being late?! It‘s too early to judge as I‘m only on page 15 now, but I really hope that this is a good story 🤞🏻 1mo
BarbaraBB Duncan made me laugh so much. He is horrible of course! 1mo
Mdargusch Thanks for the titles to check out - I trust you. 😁 1mo
Leftcoastzen I keep reading and want to give Duncan many slaps!😂 1mo
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saresmoore
A House and Its Head | Ivy Compton-Burnett
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The descriptions in this book are brilliant. #NYRBBookClub

BarbaraBB And those dialogues 😂 (edited) 1mo
saresmoore @BarbaraBB Yes! I‘ve actually laughed out loud a few times! 1mo
LeahBergen I‘ll be picking this up very soon! 👏🏻 1mo
Suet624 Seriously. Almeric? 1mo
72 likes4 comments
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Leftcoastzen
A House and Its Head | Ivy Compton-Burnett
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Another wild Friday night ! It‘s about time to start my #NYTBBookClub read .these people are already squabbling & I‘m only on page 11 !😃

merelybookish Nice! Squabble away upper crust British family! 😛 (You're ahead of me. Still waiting on my copy.) 1mo
vivastory I just received my copy a few days ago. Looking forward to it! 1mo
BarbaraBB I am going to start it soon too. Expectations are high! 1mo
67 likes3 comments
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GatheringBooks
A House and Its Head | Ivy Compton-Burnett
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I thankfully received my #NYRBBookClub January pick a day before we were to leave Antioch for Los Angeles. Wheeeee!

readordierachel I like the minimalist cover. Makes me wonder what's inside 🙂 2mo
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vivastory
A House and Its Head | Ivy Compton-Burnett
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I want to first off thank everyone for their kind comments, & furthermore in helping make this group what it is. It gives me great joy to know that at the end of the month we can rely on a respectful, insightful, articulate discussion about our monthly selection. It seems like our group is working very well & I'm eager to see what 2020 brings. I want to thank @Liz_M again for co-hosting in December. Our inaugural selection of the year will be 👇

vivastory co-hosted with my longtime Litsy acquaintance & former KC resident @merelybookish I look forward to seeing your nominations for February @MicheleinPhilly 2mo
sprainedbrain Thank you for continuing to host! Hopefully I will have better luck getting the monthly choices from the library in time in the new year. 😬😂 2mo
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GatheringBooks ordered this via amazon while we are here in california. hopefully it reaches me before we leave for the UAE. 2mo
LeahBergen As always, this book club is such a joy. Thanks so much, Scott, for all you do and Happy New Year to the rest of my #NYRBBookClub chums! 2mo
youneverarrived I always look forward to this every month. Thank you for keeping it going! 2mo
BarbaraBB Happy New Year Scott! Here‘s to another one of great NYRB books and of course our bookclub ❤️ 2mo
emilyhaldi Thank you Scott for putting this bookclub together! It‘s been a pleasure indulging my NYRB obsession with such a thoughtful group of readers 😊 Happy New Year!! 🥳 2mo
Theaelizabet Thanks so much, Scott, for all that you do. Sorry to miss December. We traveled and best laid plans... But I really missed what is always a thoughtful experience. 2mo
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vivastory
A House and Its Head | Ivy Compton-Burnett
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The votes are in for the first selection of 2020. Ivy Compton-Burnett has been on my radar for awhile now, so I look forward to experiencing this author that has been compared to both Muriel Sparks & Jane Austen. Join my co-host @merelybookish & I for this promising read!
#NYRBBookClub

BarbaraBB Thank you Scott, I‘m off to BookDepository now! 3mo
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Suet624 Better World Books had it for $4. Score! My personal NYRB library is really expanding. Nothing like @Sisilia of course, but I‘ll get there. 😛 3mo
vivastory @BarbaraBB Enjoy! You should grab another NYRB while you're there! 3mo
vivastory @Suet624 That's a great deal! 3mo
BarbaraBB It‘s tempting! 3mo
LeahBergen And I‘m off to order it! 👏🏻👏🏻 3mo
Cinfhen Thanks for the tag, Scott 💕 3mo
vivastory @LeahBergen I just ordered my copy 📚 3mo
vivastory @Cinfhen I hope you'll join us! 3mo
Cathythoughts This sounds really good. I‘m trying to find it on kindle ... I‘ll keep trying 👍🏻 3mo
Cinfhen Thanks for the heads up on BetterWorld Books @Suet624 just placed my first order and they ship to Israel free!!! Now we wait and see how long it takes for the book to arrive @vivastory 😂 3mo
Suet624 @Cinfhen I love their social mission and soon you‘ll receive a lovely email from them about your book. Curious how long it will take to get to you! 3mo
LeahBergen Done! @merelybookish (edited) 3mo
Reviewsbylola The Muriel/Jane comparison has me curious. 🤔 3mo
sisilia 😹 @Suet624 You know me well. I have to stop this madness!! 3mo
vivastory @sisilia As Cheshire cat would say, "We're all mad here" ? 3mo
sisilia @vivastory It‘s good to have fellow fans of NYRB Classics here 💞 Excellent bookclub selections, and insightful discussions! 3mo
batsy I'm looking forward to this 🥳 @BarbaraBB see you at the NYRB aisle in Book Depository 😆 3mo
batsy @merelybookish Sent :) 3mo
Cathythoughts @merelybookish yes! On the way now 👍🏻❤️ 3mo
Aimeesue Sent! 3mo
emilyhaldi Just sent my address! @merelybookish before I saw that my lovely sister already provided mine ☺️ 3mo
emilyhaldi Oh and yay!!! Can't wait for this book club selection. It‘s already waiting patiently on my tbr shelf 🤗 @merelybookish 3mo
JenniferP This is one I have unread on the shelf so I will join in the group read for the first time. Looking forward to it! 2mo
vivastory @JenniferP Great! Glad you're joining us! 2mo
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emilyhaldi
A House and Its Head | Ivy Compton-Burnett
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#neverever will I gain control over my book buying obsession. Case in point: I "needed” to buy 1 book for #nyrb bookclub and ended up with 4.

Ps. Winky is always judging me

#anglophileapril

saresmoore But it‘s for an important virtual book club, so it‘s more like an investment. (Which is what I said to my husband.) 10mo
Aimeesue It's not your fault. NYRB editions are impossible to resist. 10mo
Melissa_J I don‘t think that book buying is an obsession you should ever have to get over 😊 10mo
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Leftcoastzen That‘s cuz Winky can count! how does 1 =4? I have the same problem.😂 10mo
ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled Winky is like, “Four?!?!” 😂 10mo
vivastory I have to agree with @saresmoore on this one & say no one needs your judgmental attitude, Winky! 😹 10mo
Reviewsbylola 😆😆😆 10mo
janeycanuck Just consider yourself an overachiever. 10mo
LeahBergen Judgy Winky. 🙄 10mo
BarbaraBB Great pic! And yes, you had too! (edited) 10mo
Mdargusch 👋🏼👋🏼👋🏼 hi Winky 10mo
Leftcoastzen So cute ! 3mo
112 likes12 comments