The Sunday Times best seller.
Award-winning poet and rapper Kate Tempest's electrifying debut novel takes us into the beating heart of the capital in this multigenerational 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 Southeast 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, Kate 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.
Cover designed by Greg Heinimann.
"One of the leading wordsmiths of our time. She turns her 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)
"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. She may well be unstoppable." (Sunday Telegraph)
"It's hard not to be blown away by Kate Tempest. A stirring, post-Dickensian lens trained on London's lonely underbelly." (Evening Standard)
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Amazing book, modern day shakespear...
Yes - Kate's reading is part of the lyrical mastery of this production. Her delivery and character portrayal are just outstanding.
Pete's birthday at the pub, becasue it is the perfect climax to the setup.
So many moments that moved me! Her character portraits are mu favourite thing about her writing.
I honestly think that listening to Kate Tempest is like what it must have been listening to Shakespear at the time - her word economy, and detailed picture painting is phenomenal. This is an unpredictable and exciting first novel which I inhaled as it was so good.
- T W Ricketts