Title: The High House
Author: Jessie Greengrass
Publisher: Swift Press
Crisis slid from distant threat to imminent probability and we tuned it out like static
Francesca is Caro’s stepmother, and Pauly’s mother. A scientist, she can see what is going to happen.
The high house was once her holiday home; now looked after by locals Grandy and Sally, she has turned it into an ark, for when the time comes. The mill powers the generator; the orchard is carefully pruned; the greenhouse has all its glass intact. Almost a family, but not quite, they plant, store seed, and watch the weather carefully.
A stunning novel of the extraordinary and the everyday, The High House explores how we get used to change that once seemed unthinkable, how we place the needs of our families against the needs of others – and it asks us who, if we had to, we would save.
The High House is a beautifully written, thought-provoking novel that examines the effects of climate change on everyday life in the UK, bringing it right to the forefront of our minds instead of something that affects far-away nations. It’s a novel I’m still thinking about now, days after finishing it…
The story is told through various perspectives: Caro, Sally and Pauly. They all end up living at ‘The High House’, a holiday home that Francesca (Caro’s stepmother) owns, which proves very useful as the storms come in and huge areas of the UK start to flood.
I did lose track a little of how each character connected and ended up at the High House. For Caro and Paulie, it was obvious, but for Sal and Grandy, I got a little lost on when they were at the house, how they ended up there and how Francesca was connected to them. The timescales for the different narratives were a bit confusing at times – some of it discussed occurrences a long time ago and I lost track a bit between timeframes. However, it didn’t affect the beauty and impact of the story. ‘Haunting’ is definitely a good adjective to use here!
This story packs a punch in under 300 pages, making the reader really consider how we’d all cope if severe weather conditions became an everyday worry instead of a freak occurrence. It really drives home the message of ‘we must act before it’s too late’ and, though this is something I’m very aware of anyway, it hit home in a way that news articles often don’t. Powerful stuff and highly recommended!
Many thanks to the publisher, Swift Press, for providing a copy of this book on which I chose to write an honest review, and for Random Things Tours for inviting me onto the blog tour!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jessie Greengrass was born in 1982. She studied philosophy in Cambridge and London, where she now lives with her partner and child. Her story collection, An Account of the Decline of the Great Auk, According to One Who Saw It, won the Edge Hill Prize 2016 and a Somerset Maugham Award, and she was shortlisted for the PFD/Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year.