Author(s): Julia Rochester
Part mystery, part psychological drama, Julia Rochester's The House at the Edge of the World is a darkly comic, unorthodox and thrilling debut. When I was eighteen, my father fell off a cliff. It was a stupid way to die. John Venton's drunken fall from a Devon cliff leaves his family with an embarrassing ghost. His twin children, Morwenna and Corwin, flee in separate directions to take up their adult lives. Their mother, enraged by years of unhappy marriage, embraces merry widowhood. Only their grandfather finds solace in the crumbling family house, endlessly painting their story onto a large canvas map. His brightly coloured map, with its tiny pictures of shipwrecks, forgotten houses, saints and devils, is a work of his imagination, a collection of local myths and histories. But it holds a secret. As the twins are drawn grudgingly back to the house, they discover that their father's absence is part of the map's mysterious pull. The House at the Edge of the World is the compellingly told story of how family and home can be both a source of comfort and a wholly destructive force. Cutting to the undignified half-truths every family conceals, it asks the questions we all must confront: who are we responsible for and, ultimately, who do we belong to? "Wonderfully crisp and funny, and so full of vivid, surprising images that the reader almost doesn't notice the moment that deep secrets begin to be revealed. I enjoyed this book so much." (Emma Healey, bestselling author of Elizabeth is Missing).
Baileys Longlist 2016
Darkly comic debut about a curious death in Cornwall intrigues to the very end -- Sunday Times Best Summer Reads Intricate and involving, this is a writer to watch -- Daily Mail A story that carries you along - clever plotting and a startling outcome. An impressive first novel -- Penelope Lively Wonderfully crisp and funny, and so full of vivid, surprising images that the reader almost doesn't notice the moment that deep secrets begin to be revealed. I enjoyed this book so much -- Emma Healey, author of 'Elizabeth is Missing' The sheer intelligence and wit of the writing is often funny, but as the story deepens the emotions darken ... This is a terrific debut - and like that unhappy image of father, turning in his spangled arc, it stays in the mind -- Sunday Times The House at the Edge of the World is, like its narrator, funny, sharp and also terribly sad -- Emerald Street An obviously gifted writer... its strength lies in the understanding of human behaviour that underlies the unexpected twists and turns, each one of which moves from romanticism to credibility in a bracing way, so that the book's charm resembles that of a building such as Brighton Pavilion: engagingly fantastic in appearance, but structurally sound -- Diana Athill, Guardian Darkly funny... sharp-as-knives observations brilliantly capture the black undertow of this family story Sunday Express A slippery tale of perception and manipulation... The text echoes of a thriller, though it is a character study in how much people can alter themselves to meet the wills of others; for marriage, family or the bond of twinship Scotsman
Julia Rochester grew up on the Exe Estuary in Devon. She studied in London, Berlin and Cambridge and has worked for the BBC Portuguese Service and for Amnesty International as researcher on Brazil. She lives in London with her husband and daughter.