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House Hardcover – October, 1985
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About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
The characters in this book are so lifelike; the conversations so real. I can feel the tension in the air between Jim (the builder and lead carpenter), Bill (the architect), and Jonathan and Judith Souweine (the owners) The workers are great, too. Their comments are snide and funny. I often hear stories from my husband in his concrete business of how architect's plans are not always practical or realistic when construction actually takes place. I love seeing how this situation plays out in the book.
SPOILER--> I really felt for the builders when their profit was disappointingly small in the end. Kidder not only captured the nuances of interpersonal relations between those involved in all aspects of the house's construction, but also the very essense of each character's personality.
The book reads easily, despite the fact that the author often uses technical terms. He takes many small side trips to describe a number of things: the history of stick-built framing; the characteristics of good wood; the process of lumber making; the emergence of the architect's role. Most of which is facinating and colorful (though occasionally tedious).
This book is NOT a "how-to" book, a "what-to-look-for" book, or even a "how-to-choose-a-builder" book. It's just a story, but a story that vividly describes the interplay between the family (who wants a nice house but is trying to squeeze every penny), the architect (who wants his vision built but sees the lack of money slowly chip away at his vision) and the builder (who wants to maintain a high-quality of workmanship while getting blindsided by changing plans and hard-bargining clients).
The book won't help you build a house, but it will definitely help you prepare mentally for the seemingly endless decisions and challenges inherent in homebuilding.
In this book, Tracy Kidder describes the process and personalities involved with building a new home, but it's more than that. Like his "Soul of a New Machine", it chronicles what it's really like to be caught in the middle of a major project. Even someone who hasn't built a home from scratch or developed a new computer system will gain an basic knowledge of the topic and an appreciation for what it takes to do something really big.
Aside from the pure pleasure of reading, "House" is also a manual for how and how not to build a house. Every time I have a problem in the construction of my house, I think back to the shabby, confrontational way the builders were treated in "House" and approach my builder with that in mind.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One would he to e a contractor or, perhaps, in the middle of a large remodel or house building to enjoy the excruciating detail. I couldn't get past about 50 pages.Published 4 months ago by Mary Carrillo
Interesting story of how different people experienced the building of a house (e.g., architect, owners, carpenters, etc.). A little outdated and at times a slog. Read morePublished 5 months ago by CABuyer
I originally read this book when we built a house in 1989. Reread it as we built a house this summer. Love Kidder's prose.. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Dr. Sue
I found this book fascinating, as it traces the building of a house from the architect's conception through the builders who work on it to the final acceptance by the owners. Read morePublished 10 months ago by cpkreader
If you're contemplating building or remodeling or have done so you will enjoy the give and take of this book. I sent a copy to my recent remodeling contractor.Published 13 months ago by Johnny
I read this book years ago and lost my copy. I'm reading it again for the 5th or 6th time and enjoy it greatly each time. No one does this genre better than Tracy Kidder. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Maureen Haughey