Housekeeping is a novel written by Marilynne Robinson in 1980. The story is told by Ruthie, wo is the narrator and mainly tells the story of how Ruthie and her younger sister Lucille are raised by a succession of relatives in the town of Fingerbone, Idaho. Eventually, their aunt Sylvie comes to take care of them and initially the 3 live together as very close knit group. However, as Lucille grows up she comes to dislike the lifestyle of her sister Ruthie and aunt Sylvie and decides to move out. However, when Ruthie's well-being is questioned by the local courts due to the eccentric lifestyle which her and Sylvie live, Sylvie takes Ruthie with her to live on the road, always moving from place to place.
The book was written by the author to deal with the subject of housekeeping, not only in the domestic sense of cleaning, but also in the sense of keeping a well spirited home for one's self and family in the face of loss, as Ruthie and Lucille in this novel experience a series of abandonment as they come of age, always changing guardians.
The book was well received by both critics and fans alike. The book was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and was also awarded the PEN/Hemingway Award for best first novel. The book's success resulted in it being turned into a full feature film which was released in 1987.