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The Bricks that Built the Houses: The Sunday Times Bestseller (Hardback)Kae Tempest (author)
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Award-winning poet and rapper Kae Tempest's electrifying debut novel takes us into the beating heart of the capital in this multi-generational tale of drugs, desire and belonging. It gets into your bones. You don't even realise it, until you're driving through it, watching all the things you've always known and leaving them behind.
Young Londoners Becky, Harry and Leon are leaving town in a fourth-hand Ford Cortina with a suitcase full of money. They are running from jealous boyfriends, dead-end jobs, violent maniacs and disgruntled drug dealers, in the hope of escaping the restless tedium of life in south-east London - the place they have always called home. As the story moves back in time, to before they had to leave, we see them torn between confidence and self-loathing, between loneliness and desire, between desperate ambition and the terrifying prospect of getting nothing done.
In The Bricks that Built The Houses Kae Tempest explores contemporary city life with a powerful moral microscope, giving us irresistible stories of hidden lives, and showing us how the best intentions don't always lead to the right decisions
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Number of pages: 416
Weight: 562 g
Dimensions: 216 x 135 mm
'Wonderful.' - Lauren Laverne
'Soaring... Tempest's flair for language is tempered by their sense of rhythm and pace... Deeply affecting: cinematic in scope; touching in its empathic humanity... Tempest's voice - by turns raging and tender - never falters.' - New York Times
'This is a bold, bright, beguiling novel; a lustrous pageant that dazzles and grips... An irresistible, immersive snapshot of a changing world, delivered in woozy, staccato sentences... There's great pleasure to be taken from Tempest's debut... They may well be unstoppable.' - Sunday Telegraph
'One of the leading wordsmiths of our time... They turn their raw, observational skills in book form to the urban young growing up poor - sex, drugs and increasing poverty amid the looming threat of gentrification.' - Jon Snow
'It's hard not to be blown away by Kae Tempest... A stirring, post-Dickensian lens trained on London's lonely underbelly.' - Evening Standard
'This book is almost everything I hoped it would be. That is praise indeed, as I had high hopes ... As lyrical as it is gritty, and as devoted to (south-east) London as it is to humanity, with all its foibles.' - New Statesman
'Tempest has a knack for the devastating throwaway line - a skill-honed, no doubt, from years of rapping and spoken-word performances. Their work is rich with underlinable lines ... Captivating.' - The New Yorker
'Everything Kae tempest does comes from the same gnawing desire to tell stories and change the world ... The book covers come-ups, comedowns, gender identity, parents torn apart by activism and the brutal, beautiful face of survival against the odds ... Blistering.' - NME
'Explosive ... Fresh and vivid visions of a familiar world ... It recalls two other great, recent, experimental novels about being young: Jon McGregor's If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things and Eimear McBride's A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing. There's the same sense of daring and linguistic inventiveness, the same feeling of language pushed to its limits ... It fairly flies off the page.' - The Observer
'A story of accidental adventure and loss in what feels like London's boiling crucible of race, class and sexuality ... This novel requires giving oneself over to its linguistic world ... It seems not just to describe a contemporary world but chart the migratory and class movements that has led it to its current state.' - Andrew McMillan, The Independent
'Angst-ridden lyricism captures the energy and loneliness of London life in this dizzying, genre-busting debut ... A remarkable piece of writing, filled with verbal echoes and half-rhymes ... [One reads] for the pinpoint evocation of a milieu, its texture and contours, all delivered with an intensely gathered and focused energy ... Transformative.' The Guardian
'The passion, pace and pulsing narrative of their novel is like an extended Arctic Monkeys track ... London emerges as the beating heart, a melting pot of race, class, sexuality and drugs. Tempest is a clearly talented writer with a distinctive and engaging voice ... Passionate and political.' - Irish Times
'Tempest is a worthy champion for a generation of disillusioned youth ... Their lyrical talent comes through.' - Sunday Times
'Tempest's words really soar from the grime of London ... Smart, lyrical observations of city life won me over ... Tempest proves their witty, unique take on the world.' - Stylist
'Tempest is brilliant at capturing a distinctly contemporary state of mind, one hollowed out by drugs, ennui and too many late nights, but also one bursting with frustrated feeling and desire. They have a poetic sensibility that feels physically hewn from London's unloved corners ... Their writing has a startling, unmediated freshness reminiscent of Jack Kerouac ... Full of beauty.' - Metro
'Their characters sing ... This is yet another impressive achievement for Tempest, and one which leaves this Generation Xer understanding the woes of millennials much better. - Scotland on Sunday
'A novel of discontentment, rage and good intentions ... Tempest sharpens their tongue to good effect.' - The Times
'A startling debut novel ... The call-to-arms urgency with which they write about the issues affecting their generation - from social prejudice and unemployment to modern love and selfies - has earned them comparisons to the Beat poets.' - Vogue
'A whirlwind journey through modern city life ... You'll be gripped from start to finish.' - Elle
'There's plenty of inspiration and perspiration in the literary world, but Kae Tempest's sense of urgency is rare ... Tempest does come across as an enemy of beige prose ... They depict their interior worlds as roiling; the intensity of their inner lives explodes on the page.' - National Post
'Tempest portrays the lives of generations of Londoners with an unflinching but sympathetic eye.' - Big Issue
'A lager-stained, rain-soaked love letter to London ... Flows like a prose poem about drugs, dual carriageways and desire.' - Red
'A novel about youth and drugs and desire and dancers ... It's also about the changing face of the capital city. About gentrification and its costs.' - Herald
'Tempest has a gift for making you feel you're walking on the edge of something: between text and sound, or between a great night and the worst one ... Many bursts of lyrical prose, heavy and kaleidoscopic.' - Saturday Paper
'Tempest gets at foundations: If families are houses, then each family member is a cracked brick ... This might be Tempest's first novel, but it's also poetry ... By artfully intertwining the stories of people who are broken by the city they love, The Bricks That Built the Houses creates a complex narrative that rarely falters and eventually coheres into a strong and lyrical whole.' The Millions
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“Brilliant urban rhapsody....”
Kate Tempest draws up a picture of the urban jungle called London with multiculture, sex , drugs and increasing poverty. Her characters are multilayered and so wonderfully drawn. She describes generation of young... More
“An addictive read”
I became very addicted to this book! I haven't read something so captivating in a long time - especially a prose debut by a young poet. I suppose's it's unusual for a successful poet to foray into prose... More
“A promising debut from a major talent”
Kate Tempest is a marvellously talented writer and performer, and I'd thoroughly recommend her to anybody keen to discover a punchy, distinctive modern storyteller. The Bricks That Built The Houses isn't as... More
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