Publication Date: 18/01/2024 ISBN: 9780571379552 Categories: , Tag:

The House of Broken Bricks

Fiona Williams

Publisher: Faber & Faber
Publication Date: 18/01/2024 ISBN: 9780571379552 Categories: , Tag:


Mr B's review

What a moving and healing book. This is the story of a broken family, cast adrift from each other by grief, and yet anchored to the same home by different strings.

Richard and Tess live in a rural Somerset cottage with their twin boys Sonny and Max. Whilst Richard is at home in the garden, their sons spend much of their time escaping into worlds of make-believe, and Tess is left feeling isolated. Unable to confront their grief and deteriorating relationships, Tess loses herself in compulsive cooking and chores reminiscent of her childhood, while Richard stays outdoors and drowns out his thoughts with physical labour.

As heartbreaking as this story is, the way Fiona captured the imagination of the children, her nature writing, and the honest portrayal of the crushing nature of grief absolutely amazed me. – Katrina


‘An almanac for the heart.’
EVIE WOODS, author of The Lost Bookshop

‘Haunting prose that cracks the English pastoral novel and lets the darkness in. A pleasure to read.’
SARAH MOSS, author of Ghost Wall

‘A clever, heartbreaking, heartwarming depiction of family love, grief and the possibility of hope.’
JO BROWNING WROE, author of A Terrible Kindness

‘Poignant and unexpected . . . brave and subtle.’
EMMA HEALEY, author of Elizabeth is Missing

‘Wonderful . . . brave in its deep truths about loss and love.’
INGRID PERSAUD, author of Love After Love

Ain’t nothing wrong with being broken. Nothing at all. You’re like these houses, not a whole brick in em and look how strong they are.

As Tess traces the sunrise over the floodplains, light that paints the house a startling crimson, she yearns for the comforting chaos of life as it once was. Instead of Max and Sonny tracking dirt through the kitchen – Tess and Richard’s ‘rainbow twins’ – Tess absorbs the quiet. The nights draw in, the soil cools and Richard fights to get his winter crops planted rather than deal with the discussion he cannot bear to have.

Secrets and vines clamber over the broken red bricks and although its inhabitants seem to be withering, in the damp, crumbling soil Sonny knows that something is stirring . . . As the seasons change, and the cracks let in more light, the family might just be able to start to heal.

This is the story of a broken family, what they see and what they cannot say laid bare in their overlapping perspectives. It is a tale of life in the cracks, because in the space for acceptance, of passing and of laying to rest, the possibilities of new energy, light and love, are seeded.

Readers are loving The House of Broken Bricks:

***** ‘It’s only the first week of January and already I have a strong candidate for my book of the year.’
***** ‘Fiona Williams’ stunning nature-writing and poetic prose, turns a relatively simple story into a hauntingly beautiful experience.’
***** ‘This is one of those books that stays with you long after you’ve finished reading it.’
*****’Absolutely spot-on in how it portrays children’s emotional intuition, this is a beaut of a book.’
***** ‘Blown away! This books is stunning and haunting and structurally beautiful.’

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