My thoughts on The Gray House by Mariam Petrosyan. Alright. Here we go. First book review since I actually started enjoying reading again post graduation.
It’s often referred to as “Soviet Hogwarts”, but with adolescents with all kinds of disabilities. Sounded like a truly different and promising read. Also my first translated read, from Russian to English.
I don’t like stories. I like moments. I like night better than day, moon better than sun, and here-and-now better than sometime-later.” –Tabaqui the Jackal, my dude.
This is the kind of book that doesn’t make sense half of the time but somehow makes perfect sense as a whole. Reading this mammoth of a tale, you have no choice but to get yourself lost in the maze of the House. You smell the smells and you get drunk off of Fairy Tale Night. You have a soft spot for Tabaqui and you root for Blind even if he’s a monster at times.
There is none happier than a true fool.”
Yes, at one point or another a 721 page book will drag on. You’ll feel like you’re gonna be in this house forever, like there is nothing outside of these pages. Precisely an effect that I’m sure was intended. You need to struggle to get through it. You need to feel the endless, albeit sometimes tortuous, adventure. You need to let it become you.
Whoever’s telling the story creates the story. No single story can describe reality exactly the way it was.”
Would I recommend it? Not to everyone. You need to be able to handle it. And you need to be able to finish it. Even if it takes months to, you need to be completely willing to step foot into the most crazy atmosphere, be it a fictitious world. But at the same time, there aren’t any real requirements for this book. I imagine it would affect each person differently. I liked it, then I hated it, then I loved it. And now, now I actually want to go back.
Freedom can only be found inside you.”
The more I read this book the more I found parallels to the world I live in. The more I read it, the more I wanted to remain in the shambles of the Gray House because in its shambles and filth and disappearances it still feels safer than life outside my front door.
And when it’s done you’re left somewhere between not quite believing it’s done and wanting to celebrate the completion of this monstrous read.