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Review of The House of Broken Bricks by Fiona Williams

The House of Broken Bricks is Faber’s leading 2024 debut, exploring the complexity of grief, identity, and internal family dynamics. Fiona Williams writes in beautifully lyrical prose, effortlessly shifting between effusive descriptive passages, poignant poetry and short sharp moments of interaction and dialogue.

Nature is a constant backdrop throughout this family story. The boys Max and Sonny play in the fields, explore in the woods and swim in the lake; the father, Richard, tends to flowers and vegetables as he struggles to make his business (and crops) grow; and the mother, Tess, tries to make sense of her new life in the rural provinces, having grown up in the heart of London’s suburbs. 

This story is not a light one as it delves into grief at its most raw and heart-breaking. For me, Williams’ writing style reminded me of authors such as Douglas Stuart, Max Porter and Damon Galgut. I think this debut is brilliantly told, my only critique would be that the story’s resolution felt somewhat rushed, and out of character with the rest of the book.

If you are a fan of novels like Shuggie Bain and The Promise, I would highly recommend The House of Broken Bricks. 

Reviewed by Helen.

The House of Broken Bricks was published on 18/01/24 by Faber & Faber.

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