In the 1980's, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Alison Lurie wrote a meditation on clothing as an expression of history, social status and individual psychology. The Language of Clothes came to be highly regarded in the literature of couture and design. Lurie has returned with The Language of Houses, a provocative and entertaining journey through the architecture of houses and buildings and the divided spaces within come to reflect the attitudes and purposes of the organizations and people who inhabit them. What makes a house is in the eye of the beholder, and the word can mean anything from church to office to domicile and more and relies on the use of materials such as stone and wood and stucco and the roles of stairs and windows, tight interiors and open expanses. Structures under scrutiny include schools, churches, government buildings, museums, prisons, hospitals, restaurants, and of course, houses and homes. Filled with literary references from Kafka to Hawthorne and charming hand-drawings by Karen Chen, Lurie’s new work is an essential and highly entertaining new contribution to the literature of buildings and architecture.
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Disappointing to say the least
Better execution of the idea and a narrator who sounds more serious and less touchy-feely.
It was a good idea from a good writer undermined by superficial observation and stunningly careless conclusions.
More focused, less like a reading exercise.
Intriguing basic concept.
I expected more from this talented writer.
Meandering and frivolous
- Daniel Julien