Today is Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year. (Although I hit my lowest ebb during the Biblical rainstorm on Friday.)
So what possessed me to persevere with this book?
No 85 on the Observer's list of 100 Greatest Novels of all time ... and much higher than that on my list of 100 Novels to make you feel like slitting your wrists.
It is desolate, the story of two orphaned young girls in a godforsaken town beside a lake where their mother and grandfather have both drowned.
And it is a novel that is sodden with images of floodwater and damp.
If you like this style of writing you might call it poetical. But I wanted to put this novel through a mangle, wring out some of that self-indulgent lyrical squelch.
There were Too Many Words. I was drowning.
In a way, it reminded me of Beside the Sea by Véronique Olmi. Another story of transience and loneliness - and lots of rain - but so much more powerful because it was so tautly written.
I know that Rachel at BookSnob was completely entranced by another Marilynne Robinson title recently and that readers in Cornflower's book group were almost unanimously positive about Housekeeping. So clearly I was the wrong reader. And all I can say is ...