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Summary

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.

©2016 Kate Tempest (P)2017 Audible, Ltd

Critic reviews

"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)

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing book, modern day shakespear...

Would you consider the audio edition of The Bricks That Built the Houses to be better than the print version?

Yes - Kate's reading is part of the lyrical mastery of this production. Her delivery and character portrayal are just outstanding.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Pete's birthday at the pub, becasue it is the perfect climax to the setup.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

So many moments that moved me! Her character portraits are mu favourite thing about her writing.

Any additional comments?

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.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Just listen.

I have been obsessed with this book ever since listening to “everybody down” it feels like my understanding has been has been expanded and I have seen the same scenes from different angles. Anything by Kate is gold and the fact she reads it herself makes it so much better.

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Probably the best audiobook I've ever listened to

I was sad when this finished. Kate Tempest is a great story teller and her narration is great.

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rich and recommended

Taking the basic storyline from 'Everybody Down, Tempests album, expanding the story, filling out the characters and making small but important changes.

One of the major strengths of this book are the rich and evocative characters, filled out in descriptor's, and Joycean expositions of their inner landscapes. Though circulating primarily around a group of twenty something young people, great care is paid in building images of their parents and full background, how this has played into the inheritance of the central characters, and how historical ancedents have a legacy.

Set in south London on the backdrop of poverty and dreams, Tempests rich and playful use of language makes this book, and her reading of it (more aptly perhaps performance) makes it an act of pure genius.

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Stunning

The Bricks that Built the Houses is amazing. I loved everything about it. I loved the setting, modern-day London. Tempest breathes life into the city and I could practically hear, smell and taste it. I loved the characters as well. They are all wonderfully formed, made of flesh and bone. I loved them all and wanted everything to work out for them. The plot is great as well, gritty and compelling. I really like Tempest’s prose style. The Bricks that Built the Houses is vivid and full of rich detail. I LOVED this book and will gush about it for months to come. Amazing!

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Awesome book

Really very good. I enjoyed very much. Highly recommended. Jump in the waters lovely in South London

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Great book

Would you listen to The Bricks That Built the Houses again? Why?

Excellent plot, writing style and narration

What other book might you compare The Bricks That Built the Houses to, and why?

Excellent plot, writing style and narration

Which character – as performed by Kate Tempest – was your favourite?

Excellent plot, writing style and narration

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Excellent plot, writing style and narration

Any additional comments?

Excellent plot, writing style and narration

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Superb read!!

The story, the descriptions, the writing, I loved everything about this book. I think I'll miss the characters in the book I enjoyed it so much. I was so disappointed when it ended. Can't wait to read another novel by Kate Tempest.

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  • Ms
  • Montaigu de quercy, France
  • 31-08-17

Stupendous

Without doubt the best book I have listened to for a very long time
Kate Tempest is a tour de force
Her capacity to conjour her characters and evoke the city is without equal
The story moves like the river Thames itself

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The best contemporary fiction I've read in a while

If you could sum up The Bricks That Built the Houses in three words, what would they be?

Edgy, piercing, beautiful.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Bricks That Built the Houses?

I personally enjoyed the beginning of the book and its take down of the London elite's culture. She summed it up perfectly.

What does Kate Tempest bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Her performance is unique in comparison to any other audiobook I have listened to. Nobody else could have gotten close to expressing the essence of the book than Kate herself (something which isn't always to be taken for granted).

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-10-17

Beautifully written but disappointing narration

The narrator's accent was grating and distracting. Once you get past the accent the story is beautifully told though. Wonderfully descriptive text.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful