Margot Mifflin
August 02, 1996 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Giant's House

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Elizabeth McCracken
genre
Fiction

We gave it a B+

Despite its peculiar plot — a small-town librarian falls in love with a boy giant — The Giant’s House is a homey, curl-up-by-the-fire first novel. Elizabeth McCracken, recently chosen as one of Granta magazine’s 20 best American novelists under 40, describes a ”fundamentally sad” woman who, in the 1950s, befriends an 11-year-old who grows up to become the world’s tallest person. She takes him under her wing after his mother dies, conflating maternal and romantic impulses as she falls hard for him. Although McCracken brings warmth and surprises to her well-written story, the author never makes us believe in her heroine. She comes off as an emotional opportunist who avoids adult relationships by martyring herself for a boy doomed to die young. B+

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