Viewport width =
May 1, 2016 | by  | in Books |
Share on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on Twitter

The Bricks that Built the Houses

★★★★

Author: Kate Tempest

Publisher: Bloomsbury Circus

 

Many of you reading this will have come across Kate Tempest’s name before in some form. Hailing from London, she’s a poet, a playwright, a rapper, and now a novelist. Her most notable achievements to date include winning the Ted Hughes Award for her modern-day epic poem Brand New Ancients, and garnering a Mercury Prize nomination for her 2014 debut album Everybody Down. Okay, I’m suitably impressed.

The Bricks that Built the Houses serves as a companion to Everybody Down, with each chapter mirroring a track on the album, or vice vera. It’s a story of gritty South London, where Tempest grew up, and the people who live there. The novel opens with Leon, Becky, and Harry in a car, leaving town, accompanied by a suitcase full of money. We don’t know what has proceeded this flight, but we do know that all three are anxious and tightly-wound, running from something. Tempest then takes us back a year, delving into their lives and those of the people around them. It’s a white-knuckle read in which we know the destination, but not the journey.

Tempest is a skilled lyricist, deftly capturing moments and emotions, and this carries over to her prose. I found myself catching on certain sentences, compelled to read them again: “Her mouth is the funnel of a gramophone, her chest a spinning vinyl. The words are slow; they come out steeped in mud.” I wondered, however, if at times the writing was too metaphor-laden, preoccupied with drawing poetic comparisons rather than with the story itself. Despite this, it was a gripping read, transporting me right into the inner lives of the characters and their predicaments. I found myself not wanting to be let go. For a first novel this feels like a great achievement. Tempest is now firmly placed as a literary force and she appears to only be gaining momentum.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on Twitter

About the Author ()

Comments are closed.

Recent posts

  1. SWAT
  2. Ravished by the Living Embodiment of All Our University Woes
  3. New Zealand’s First Rainbow Crossing is Here (and Queer)
  4. Chloe Has a Yarn About Mental Health
  5. “Stick with Vic” Makes “Insulting” and “Upsetting” Comments
  6. Presidential Address
  7. Final Review
  8. Tears Fall, and Sea Levels Rise
  9. It’s Fall in my Heart
  10. Queer Coverage: Local, National, and International LGBTQIA+ News
Website-Cover-Photo7

Editor's Pick

This Ain’t a Scene it’s a Goddamned Arm Wrestle

: Interior – Industrial Soviet Beerhall – Night It was late November and cold as hell when I stumbled into the Zhiguli Beer Hall. I was in Moscow, about to take the trans-Mongolian rail line to Beijing, and after finding someone in my hostel who could speak English, had decided