The Bricks That Built The Houses – Kate Tempest

After reading around for some decent reviews that truly justify this novel, I felt it was only right for me to share my insight into the unknown wonders of Tempest’s debut novel.

I had heard of Kate Tempest before but hadn’t taken that much notice of her, in all honesty, I wasn’t sure what the fuss was about but when a very good bookseller colleague of mine recommended ‘The Bricks That Built The Houses’ not only did I feel I had to buy it because he has such good taste in books but finally I would learn what many people love about her.

I have to admit, I did read other books whilst reading this book at the same time and therefore it did take me a while to get through the novel but I was glad I did.
Tempest has a great way of creating sentences, they are so floral and beautiful. As I was reading, I let myself just bathe and soak in her language, I found it fascinating. She has a way with words. She writes with experience as if she’s seen the world for what it really is. She doesn’t mollycoddle the main characters but lets them experience the harshness of youth with full force.
My favourite thing about this book was the depth of character and the back stories of each character. The families and the problems that they all had were so relatable and I could see people in this day and age going through the same things. It was all too realistic.

I was warned by my colleague that Tempest’s novel is NOT about the plot and fast paced storyline but about the prose. He was right. Even though I was made aware of this, I still wanted a bit more movement something just to pull me out of the character’s problematic childhood but soon enough it did. It yanked me back to reality and suddenly, my heart was racing and I couldn’t wait for these Londoners to be jumping in the Ford Cortina and getting away from London as fast as that car made it possible.
If you don’t want to wait for the last 150 words or so for something to happen, then this book is not really for you but don’t disregard it. It’s a fantastic composition and for that reason I loved it.
For someone studying English Literature, it is a great way to introduce contemporary but not populist fiction. It’s one of the first modern books I’ve read in a long time that is filled with detail but not overpowering and off-putting, like some of Stephen King’s (namely Salem’s Lot).

Read this and your eyes will be opened.

ISBN: 9781408857304


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