Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on February 4, 2014
Though anyone who has had the task of clearing out a family home will find a bit of his story in these poems, George Ella Lyon's Many-Storied House conveys much more. With wit, compassion, and a sure craftsmanship, she illuminates a time and place -- Eastern Kentucky, second half of the twentieth century -- even as the poems leap out to speak the human story each house contains. Room by room she leads us through events and fears, secrets and unveilings. A father's death. A mother's dying. Flood. Friendship. Successive carpets! A daughter's attempt at suicide. A love that lasts beyond all this. One of the strongest features of the book is that it is arranged spatially -- in rooms -- so that time compresses, overlaps, turns around on itself. And isn't this how it really is when you have lived a lifetime in a house? A whole life, all of it at once soaked into the walls, held in the spaces of that place. Like her grandfather, who built the house, Lyon has composed a structure that will last, a home not ours but one we will all recognize.
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