The House of Tomorrow
By Peter Bognanni
(Berkley Trade, Paperback, 9780425238882, March 2011, 368pp.)
The Short of It:
Brilliant, beautifully written and touching in a way that surprised me.
The Rest of It:
After losing both parents in an accident, sixteen-year-old Sebastian Prendergast lives with his eccentric grandmother Nana in a geodesic dome. Nana, who studied with the infamous R. Buckminster Fuller (architect, philosopher and futurist), continues to share his teachings by conducting tours of their very unique home.
Most people visiting Iowa come for other reasons, but every once in awhile they have a visitor or two, and that’s enough to keep Nana happy. Sebastian spends his days polishing the dome and as he’s gazing down upon the town below, it occurs to him that he hasn’t seen much of it, or the rest of the world for that matter. You see, the dome acts as a barrier to all things. It protects him, yet it also imprisons him. In his sensible shoes and conservative outdated clothing, Sebastian finds pleasure in simple things, but he secretly desires more. When his Nana falls ill, he meets a family that helps him realize how special he really is.
This is a wonderful story and includes the most interesting cast of characters I’ve encountered in a long time. They are terrifically flawed. I seriously loved them all, which I almost never say. Bognanni manages to make them vulnerable in beautiful, subtle ways. The story is funny and sad and touching without being overly worked. The transitions were effortless, or seemed so anyway.
I adored this book and this is Bognanni’s first novel! It blows my mind. You know that feeling you get after reading a page or two of a new book? The feeling where you just know that it’s going to be great? I had that feeling throughout the book and the ending did not disappoint. There is so much more to say, but it would be better to experience it on your own.
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