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Review: The High House by Jessie Greengras

The High House is another climate change fictionalisation – better than most, but still with its flaws.

Better because the writing is gorgeous. Sparsely written bite-sized sections, the prose exudes urgency and desperation. That stylisation worked well, the characters racing towards the impending doom, but it worked only up to a point. With writing that sparse, it’s good for the drama, but it limits character development, and becomes a song with a single beat. This would have been more powerful if the rhythm occasionally changed, allowing the emotions to rise and fall.

The main flaws for me were with the plot

The book is based in an unnamed, northern hemisphere coastal village. In Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, based in America, the survivors deal with armed cannibals. In Maja Lunde’s The End of the Ocean, based in Europe, fights were common with fists and sticks. In The High House, they saw refugees in the distance, but no-one seemed to be pillaging, and no defences were considered. For the end of the world, it seemed very safe.

Likewise, in one season, the store stopped delivering their groceries, but the local vicar was still able to drive to their house. It seemed society was breaking down, but with pockets of normalcy.

Still, minor complaints for an otherwise very enjoyable read.

Book supplied by Netgalley for an honest review.

See review on Goodreads.