The Language of Houses – a nonfiction book by Alison Lurie

TIMEGLASS JOURNAL – Special Mention – Tuesday 19 August 2014

I found the following article via Google News Search, in the right column under Spotlight.

It got my attention because originally I was going to be an architect, and specialize in designing floor plans for living and work environments. Then I ended up going into electronics repair for my first profession of about 10 years.


Acclaimed Novelist Alison Lurie Thinks Buildings Say a Whole Lot About Us – National Geographic Daily News – 17 August 2014.

“Your house can tell others whether you’re happy or well organized or friendly—even what your politics are.”

[This is an interview of Alison Lurie.]


  • A critic once remarked that Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Alison Lurie writes so simply that a cat or a dog can understand her. It was meant as a compliment and taken as such. In her new book she turns her lucid gaze on a subject baffling to many of us: architecture.
  • In this candid interview she talks about what buildings tell us about their owners’ aspirations and politics, why she built houses for fairies as a child, how she feels about being compared to Balzac and Jane Austen, and what her own home in upstate New York reveals about her.
  • The subtitle of your new book is “How Buildings Speak to Us.” Can you unpack that idea a little?
  • Well, I believe any building, any house, any room even, is talking to us in its own language. We often hear or register the message subconsciously, but it’s there. Sometimes the message is deliberate—the designer wants us to feel the way we’re feeling. Sometimes it’s completely unconscious. I don’t think that most people set up their sitting room in order to say things like I’m a world traveler, or I love to read, or I don’t like to sit too near to other people. But the message is there, and we pick it up.


Alison Lurie – Wikipedia article, excerpt…

  • Alison Lurie (born September 3, 1926) is an American novelist and academic. She won the Pulitzer Prize for her 1984 novel Foreign Affairs. Although better known as a novelist, she has also written numerous non-fiction books and articles, particularly on children’s literature and the semiotics of dress.

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Categories: Architecture, Authors, Books, Environment, Living Environments, Social | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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