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The High House: Shortlisted for the Costa Best Novel Award

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Visit the Civil War Room where King Charles 1 and Prince Rupert stayed during their brief visit to the town; view the Stuart Bedroom with its magnificent four poster bed; admire the elegant splendour of the Wallpaper Room with its Georgian displays; visit Mr Marson in his Edwardian Shop; and observe the grand comfort of the Victorian Room. It is about life during a climate-change induced apocalypse, where floods and superstorms are destroying civilisation, faster than most expected. In short, a group of four people try to survive in their High House, safe on a hill near what was once an English beach. They are well-prepared by an environmentalist who saw disaster coming, but still life is tough, precarious and psychologically almost unbearable. All these characters are well-drawn and some really came to life for me.

The High House - Harvard Review

The key features of the period preceding Greengrass's flood are all too familiar: species death on an increasing scale, bizarre weather conditions, dwindling insect populations, and gradually-encroaching environmental blight. For me, and I suspect many other readers, Greengrass's portrayal of her characters’ response to these potentially cataclysmic shift’s equally recognisable. To take one example Caro, Francesca’s stepdaughter, is unable to deal with her fear of what the future might hold so she tries not to think about it: her mental state perpetually suspended between overwhelming anxiety and deflection/denial’s particularly well-realised, although what Greengrass’s aiming for in chronicling this is less clear to me. I’m not sure if Greengrass is offering her readers an elegy in anticipation of certain doom, an oblique stab at some kind of wake-up call or, perhaps, a cathartic means of rehearsing for an inevitably bleak, real-life outcome through fiction. If Greengrass's piece’s intended to arouse some sort of practical reaction I’m not convinced it’ll have any actual impact beyond brief jolts of recognition. My perspective’s not entirely based on Greengrass’s vision, frankly I’m not persuaded that cli-fi's politically significant in any concrete sense. I don't see people reading this, then laying it down and rushing out to join Extinction Rebellion or any of the groups actively working to avert looming, environmental devastation.Both a portrait of an unconventional family and of inexorable environmental tragedy, I found this extraordinarily moving." The Ancient High House is one of the finest Tudor buildings in the country. Once dominating the skyline of Stafford, it is the largest remaining timber framed town house in England. I kept imagining living by a river, or worse, the sea, and watching the water surge, with nowhere to go but onto land. Imagining it swelling and carrying off everything not cemented to the earth - cars, garbage cans, children's toys, even people and animals.

The High House by Jessie Greengrass Summary and reviews of The High House by Jessie Greengrass

she went on, speaking with such fierceness that I thought her words might drill holes through the lath and plaster to let her out of the room, out of our lives,

and he did, each foot straight into each leg. She took him to the bathroom, brushed his teeth, stood over him while he washed his hands.

The High House by Jessie Greengrass | Waterstones The High House by Jessie Greengrass | Waterstones

Climate scientist Francesca anticipated the increased erratic weather patterns, melting glaciers, and severe flooding that would cause worldwide disasters. "The High House" takes us to a home on a high hill in Suffolk surrounded by gardens, a barn full of supplies, and a small mill and generator powered by water. Francesca set up this home for her toddler son and her teenage stepdaughter. She also arranged to have an old caretaker/handyman and his granddaughter move in as caretakers of the home. The last message from Francesca and her husband directed the two children to travel to the High House to shelter safely. There are some beautiful lines about grief, such as Caro admitting that thinking of her late father “was unbearable. I could feel the shape of the empty space his hands had left behind”.When the artist left, a group of students from a nearby agricultural college moved in, and Francesca let them pay a nominal rent in exchange for renovating the garden. Jessie Greengrass on The High House: ‘Both my parents are dead. I don’t feel sad. Loss just feels natural’ The High House is an ark without two of everything. Gramps ages and passes. Some day, the girls will age and Pauly will be alone. Francesca has saved her child, but the story will end with him.

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