One of the triumphs of this novel is the manner in which Parks depicts time and place, as she cleverly intertwines the many events that have preoccupied the media over the past fifty years- assassinations, riots, scandals, civil rights protests, women's rights movements, and a host of other events that, as the back cover of the book most aptly sums up, "the turbulent 60s through the psychedelic 70s, the materialistic 80s and the booms and busts of the end of the last century." And she has marvelously accomplished this feat,while avoiding the trap of overwhelming us with a great deal of back story and grounding narration. Yet, Houses still manages to reveal more about a half a century and the ways in which people inhabited it than the flood of tomes devoted to it.
Parks is a extraordinary writer who has a talent for picking out tiny, telling details that make an entire scene or event come alive. In addition, her fine ear for dialogue effortlessly infuses mild, wry humor throughout the novel. -Bookpleasures