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The High House

Jessie Greengrass

‘SUFFUSED WITH JOY’ Guardian, ‘PROPHETIC’ Daily Mail, ‘BEAUTIFUL’ Scotsman, ‘IMMERSIVE’ IMAGE

Crisis slid from distant threat to imminent probability and we tuned it out like static

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.

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.

First published:
April 1, 2021

Category:
Fiction

Reviews for The High House

‘Greengrass steeps us deeply in her wild, watery setting … its prophetic vision fixes the attention’ – Daily Mail

‘Full of elegant, resonant sentences about human fallibility, complacency, selfishness and our unquenchable capacity for love’ – Sunday Times

‘This brave, important and exquisitely written novel is a frightening one. But even the darkest times are lit by moments of beauty and grace, and the reader is uplifted by Greengrass’s conviction that salvation lies not in competing with one another to survive but in uniting to help those we love’ – Sigrid Nunez

‘A book suffused with the joy and fulfilment of raising a child. The High House stands out, for Greengrass understands that perhaps the best writers and artists can hope for no is to help us admit, accept and process our collective failure to act’ – Guardian

‘By the end I felt a tightening in my chest. Not only admiration for what I had read, but fear, which I had swallowed down, one calm and often beautiful sentence after another. The High House managed to shock my system in a way that the attention-grabbing antics of Extinction Rebellion have not done’ – Scotsman

‘Will delight readers who relish the ambition and originality of her work, and leave them pondering its ideas about climate change, family, inequality and the ethical dilemmas that are posed by a crisis’ – i paper

Chillingly articulate’ – Daily Telegraph

‘Greengrass uses a future post-apocalyptic world as a perspective from which to apply the melancholic, nostalgic air of Ian Sinclair, Rachel Lichtenstein or W G Sebald to our own present. You think you have time. And then, all at once, you don’t’ – Irish Times

‘An extraordinary, immersive read’ – IMAGE

‘A master observer of inter-human atmosphere’ – Max Porter

‘This book is completely beautiful’ – Daisy Johnson

Excellent‘ – Jessie Burton

Profoundly moving, this is an incisive yet hopeful reflection on how to move forward together’ – Julianne Pachico

‘Greengrass has encapsulated the dignity of our individual actions and the true value of what we possess’ – Lonesome Reader

‘I have no qualms in saying The High House is a must read Bookmunch 

Haunting new novel … Greengrass is among a growing number of novelists who are confronting this unfolding catastrophe through the young genre of climate fiction’ – Guardian

Subtle and affecting, tender and terrifying, and written in the most sumptuous and delicate prose’ – Esther Freud

Author

Jessie Greengrass

Jessie Greengrass spent her childhood in London and Devon. She studied philosophy in Cambridge and London and now lives in Berwick-upon Tweed with her partner and children. Her collection of short stories, 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. Her critically acclaimed debut novel, Sight, was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2018.