Frankly speaking, I found this book completely confusing in structure. The author does way too much skipping around in a disjointed manner..leaving the reader wondering who on earth she's talking about! It spoiled the reading experience for me; 'though I did find many redeeming points of interest and captivating characters midst the chaos.
Ms Krauss had some redeeming moments of beautiful writing and clarity throughout her work. Her original concept of a desk that was a "house" unto itself and that linked several people and families in their writing and angst, was a "great" one. It was just so scattered in presentation that it missed being a fantastic novel.
I kept trying to find another, personal connection between all of the characters, and thought I had, only to wonder about that at the end. It felt as if I should re-read the novel before I would really get that full connection...before I could claim complete understanding of the novel. But, I didn't want to reread it!
I'm very well-read, and I'm intelligent enough to know when a book doesn't quite hit the mark. Sadly, although the critics have touted "Great House" for its brilliance and esoteric singularity, I found it difficult and exasperating to read. I also became mind-boggled and frustrated by the author's switching from ordinary prose and descriptive writing to a sort of James Joyceian stream-of-consiousness at a couple of points. Again, it was irritating and disrupted the reader's train of thought.
All in all, I would find it difficult to recommend this book to my friends or anyone. I gave it 4-stars only because when she hits it right, as I've said, Ms Krauss writes beautifully and with great heart, giving life to her characters.