The House of Broken Bricks: A Novel (Hardcover)
Every marriage has its seasons...It’s autumn when we meet Tess, but her relationship with Richard is in a deep, cold winter. A winter so harsh, their union may never see the bright light of spring.
Tess is a Londoner whose relationship with Richard transports her from a Jamaican diaspora in the city to the English countryside, where predatory birds hover over fields, buses run twice a day, neighbors barter honey for cider, and no one looks like her.
As Tess and Richard settle in, the dramatic arrival of their fraternal twins—one who presents as black and the other as white—recasts the family dynamic, stirring up complicated feelings and questions of belonging. Tess yearns for the comforting chaos of life as it once was, instead of Max and Sonny tracking dirt through the kitchen where cooking Caribbean food becomes her sole comfort. And Richard obsesses over getting his crops planted rather than deal with the conversation he cannot bear to have.
In Fiona Williams' quartet of unforgettable, alternating perspectives, secrets and vines clamber over the house’s broken red bricks, and although its inhabitants seem to be withering, 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.
About the Author
Fiona Williams holds a BSc (Hons) in Biological Sciences from the University of Westminster and an MA with Distinction in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University. Originally from South-East London, she now lives with her family on the Somerset Levels, and much of her work focuses on rural diversity and the relationships between identity and place.
“The House of Broken Bricks is a tender and powerful novel, all the more profound for its apparent simplicity, and establishes Williams as an exciting and original new voice.”
“A subtle, complex, and gorgeously written delight.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Lyrical and haunting . . . Readers will be moved.”
“Haunting prose that cracks the English pastoral novel and lets the darkness in. A pleasure to read.”
–Sarah Moss, author of The Fell
“Fiona Williams captures the rural English countryside, exposing it to a loving and critical eye through a family haunted and grieving the loss of love, themselves, and the promise of the future...I really loved this book. The language, structure, and characterization are all exquisite, and Williams is clearly a writer in control of her craft.”
–Asale Angel-Ajani, author of A Country You Can Leave
“Shocking and powerful, it took me into a new experience. . . This is the best kind of storytelling–characters I genuinely care about, and a narrative that demands to be followed.”
–Victoria Hislop, author of The Island
“I've lost count of the number of pitch-perfect sentences in The House of Broken Bricks that I wanted to steal–a wonderful debut that is brave in its deep truths about loss and love in us and the promise of sunshine on even the darkest days.”
–Ingrid Persaud, author of Love after Love
“The House of Broken Bricks is a truly sensory experience. I could feel, taste and see everything. The storytelling is incredibly tense and poignant and unexpected, and the subject so brave and subtle.”
–Emma Healey, author of Whistle in the Dark