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On the Books

What role does real estate play in great novels? A prominent one, The New Yorker's Ian Crouch argues: "The novel in English—from Richardson to Austen to Dickens and all the way up, and similarly among Americans from James to Wharton to Fitzgerald to, well, Franzen—might be said to be about real estate as much as it is about anything else." As a classic example, Crouch cites Gatsby's Daisy Buchanan, "who exclaims, at first seeing Jay Gatsby's great mansion (the ur-house of American literature), 'That huge place there?'" [The New Yorker]