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Award-winning poet and performer Kate Tempest’s electrifying debut novel, The Bricks That Built the Houses, takes us into the beating heart of London in a multi-generational tale of youth, desire, and belonging. Young Londoners Becky, Harry, and Leon are leaving the city in a fourth-hand Ford Cortina with a suitcase full of money. They are also leaving behind Pete, Becky’s boyfriend, at his surprise birthday party. Moving back in time, the novel explores a cross-section of contemporary urban life with a powerful moral microscope, giving us intimate stories of hidden lives and loves, and showing us that good intentions don’t always lead to the right decisions. Taking us into the homes and hearts of ordinary people, their families and their communities, Kate Tempest exposes moments of beauty, disappointment, ambition, and failure.
Kate Tempest grew up in southeast London and is widely regarded as the UK’s leading spoken word poet. Her long poem Brand New Ancients, conceived as a performance piece, won the Ted Hughes Award for Poetry in 2013. Her album Everybody Down was nominated for the 2014 Mercury Prize, and each track corresponds to a chapter in The Bricks That Built the Houses.
“Citing both the poet William Blake and the rapper RZA among her influences, she is a powerful mix of innocence and experience with a growing, and fervent, following. . . . Ms. Tempest’s work jumps boundaries.” —The New York Times