The High House: Book summary and reviews of The High House by Jessie Greengrass

The High House

A Novel

by Jessie Greengrass

The High House by Jessie Greengrass X
The High House by Jessie Greengrass
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2022
    272 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

In this powerful, highly anticipated novel from an award-winning author, four people attempt to make a home in the midst of environmental disaster.

Shortlisted for the 2021 Costa Novel Award

Perched on a sloping hill, set away from a small town by the sea, the High House has a tide pool and a mill, a vegetable garden, and, most importantly, a barn full of supplies. Caro, Pauly, Sally, and Grandy are safe, so far, from the rising water that threatens to destroy the town and that has, perhaps, already destroyed everything else. But for how long?

Caro and her younger half-brother, Pauly, arrive at the High House after her father and stepmother fall victim to a faraway climate disaster—but not before they call and urge Caro to leave London. In their new home, a converted summer house cared for by Grandy and his granddaughter, Sally, the two pairs learn to live together. Yet there are limits to their safety, limits to the supplies, limits to what Grandy—the former village caretaker, a man who knows how to do everything—can teach them as his health fails.

A searing novel that takes on parenthood, sacrifice, love, and survival under the threat of extinction, The High House is a stunning, emotionally precise novel about what can be salvaged at the end of the world.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[Q]uietly devastating...Unlike other postapocalyptic tales, plot is secondary to the emotional weight borne by the characters who know the end is coming, and to the harrowing glimpses of the future...their gradual reckoning with their existence and the fate of the planet is made heartbreaking through Greengrass's stunning prose. Painful and beautiful, this is not to be missed." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Moving…Greengrass excels in her account of this makeshift family—the sweet but fading Grandy, the two women who often see themselves as rivals, and the curious, growing, bird-crazy Pauly—and their attempts to live on and with and through a land that is increasingly inhospitable…[A] poignant, impressive contribution to an ever growing genre, the fiction of climate catastrophe." - Kirkus

"This postapocalyptic, introspective drama is all about the love of family, isolation, hopelessness, and the will to go on. Readers will be asking the question, is it better to remember the life you had before and all that's been lost, or to start fresh, only knowing this new existence? This novel is perfect for those who enjoy beautifully written, thought-provoking stories." - Booklist

"A book suffused with the joy and fulfilment of raising a child...The High House stands out." - The Guardian (UK)

"The premise is dark, but Greengrass's lyrical prose brings glimmers of light...Despite the devastation, this not-quite family finds small moments of love and happiness." - The Times Literary Supplement (UK)

"A master observer of inter-human atmosphere." - Max Porter, author of Grief is the Thing with Feathers and Lanny

"Brave, important and exquisitely written...Even the darkest times are lit by moments of beauty and grace, and the reader is uplifted by Greengrass's conviction that salvation lies not in competing with one another to survive but in uniting to help those we love." - Sigrid Nunez, author of The Friend and What Are You Going Through

This information about The High House shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Jessie Greengrass

Jessie Greengrass spent her childhood in London and Devon. She studied philosophy in Cambridge and now lives in Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland, with her partner and children. Her collection of short stories, An Account of the Decline of the Great Auk, According to One Who Saw It, won the Edge Hill Prize and Somerset Maugham Award. Her critically acclaimed debut novel, Sight, was shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction.

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