A classic in the making

The Bricks That Built the Houses 
by Kate Tempest 
Paperback, 400 pages, Published January 1st 2016 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC 

Kate Tempest has written a novel that is hard to place. It is realistic, gritty, and brutally honest. It focuses on a group of people as their lives intertwine over a period of about a year.  The two primary characters are Becky who loves to dance and Harry who is seeking a financial escape by pedalling drugs. You are dropped into their lives and you spend time with them as they navigate family, friendships, lovers, work, broken dreams and endless hope for a life that is better than what they have now.
Each character’s life, their history is beautifully realised as you develop an intimate understanding of who they are and what makes them tick. You discover their families and you understand the foundations that have crafted the main characters.
The writing is quite sublime and I love the way in short bursts Tempest is able to capture a sense of place, time, “The morning comes up fast. As cold and blank as a stranger in rush hour” or even the essence of a person “She is dark-browed, sarcastic and occasionally mean spirited. A knife amongst all this flesh. The kind of woman who starts chaos in strangers all day.”
This is a wonderful book to get lost in, to journey with these individuals as them make their way through life. I really enjoyed the story, I enjoyed the snapshots of moments that Tempest captures it is quite glorious. The characters are flawed, they have real issues and they lift off the page, you truly feel that you either know or have heard about a Becky, Harry and Pete in your own travels.
They hype around Kate Tempest is well deserved and I look forward to see what she produces in the future.

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