One of the first thing that draws me as a reader to a book is the cover. As an author, I’m always curious about the design involved in a cover:  the colors, the fonts, the imagery, etc. The covers I share here are not a promotion for the book itself, simply an admiration of the cover or aspects of it.

HOUSEKEEPING, by Marilynne Robinson

Housekeeping is the story of Ruth and her younger sister, Lucille, who grow up haphazardly, first under the care of their competent grandmother, then of two comically bumbling great-aunts, and finally of Sylvie, their eccentric and remote aunt. The family house is in the small Far West town of Fingerbone set on a glacial lake, the same lake where their grandfather died in a spectacular train wreck, and their mother drove off a cliff to her death. It is a town “chastened by an outsized landscape and extravagant weather, and chastened again by an awareness that the whole of human history had occurred elsewhere.” Ruth and Lucille’s struggle toward adulthood beautifully illuminates the price of loss and survival, and the dangerous and deep undertow of transience.


My impression:  I first stumbled upon Robinson’s work about ten years ago, and I was captivated by her writing. I’ve read Housekeeping, and it is an introspective tale of family, sorrow, home, survival, and restlessness. Her prose is refined but reserved, intelligent but accessible, and haunting in its lyricism and imagery. The cover of this one captures that haunting aspect so well with the empty train tracks disappearing into the fog and the monochromatic grayscale aside from the fading red title. The cover puts me in the position of feeling as if I am drawn into the atmosphere of the tale and standing there on the tracks above the water, feeling the mist and the quiet, feeling the unease with the confines of an expected existence, ears pricked for the rumble of an approaching train.


Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated at Flashlight Commentary. These lovely book bloggers also feature eye-catching covers:

The Maiden’s Court

A Bookaholic Swede

2 Kids and Tired

A Literary Vacation

Layered Pages

2 thoughts on “Cover Crush: Housekeeping

  1. This enigmatic cover put me off when I was young. I didn’t end up reading this book until years after it came out. I don’t think, though, that I would have loved the book as much when I was young. It is an fabulous cover though–it was too much for me. Too sophisticated.

    Liked by 1 person

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