An intoxicating, beautifully-written, folklore-infused debut exploring the interwoven lives, fates and histories of two Vietnamese women.
Though complex, subtle, and rich in history and myth, Violet Kupersmith's Build Your House Around My Body makes an instantly potent impression. Her writing is at once measured and vivid, infused with the elemental power of Vietnamese folklore, and with the histories, fates and desires of its protagonists.
Following the lives of two fearless women who both went missing (though decades apart - one in 1986, the other in 2011), and who both seek revenge, Build Your House Around My Body is hauntingly poetic, playful, and a puzzle, of sorts. A multi-layered Russian doll of a story with magic realist elements - ghosts, time travel, snake monsters. Indeed, the whole novel might be described as a coiled serpent that spirals and springs when you least expect it.
Despite their very different backgrounds, the women are bound by the past, and by ancestors and ghosts. It’s a mystery, a mythic epic, a slippery history that defies classification, and I loved it.
Two young Vietnamese women go missing decades apart. Both are fearless, both are lost. And both will have their revenge.
1986: The teenage daughter of a wealthy Vietnamese family gets lost in an abandoned rubber plantation while fleeing her angry father, and is forever changed by the experience.
2011: Twenty-five years later, a young, unhappy Vietnamese-American named Winnie disappears from her new home in Saigon without a trace.
The fates of both women are inescapably linked, bound together by past generations, by ghosts and ancestors, by the history of possessed bodies and possessed lands. Barrelling through the sweaty nightclubs of Saigon to ramshackle zoos, colonial mansions and haunted forests, Violet Kupersmith's heart-pounding fever dream of a novel deftly combines Vietnamese history and folklore to create an immersive, playful, utterly unforgettable debut.
|Publication date:||8th July 2021|
|Collections:||50+ Beautifully Written Books, 40+ Awesome Asian-authored Novels - Brilliant Books You Need to Read from Across This Epic 48-country Continent,|
|Primary Genre||Modern and Contemporary Fiction|
Closing date: 11/11/2021
'What a joy to return to the numinously spooky world of [Violet] Kupersmith and find the ghosts of history and family still haunting her pages. This impressively constructed weave of stories is gorgeous, completely original, and quite disturbing, usually all three at the same time. Beware! This book might swallow you up.' -- Karen Joy Fowler, New York Times bestselling author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
'A book a bit like the creatures within. It has fangs and claws. It horrifies and charms. It is the sort of book you force on your friends, just so you can talk to them about it.' -- Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, author of Harmless Like You and Starling Days
'A wide-ranging first novel that peels back the layers of a haunted Vietnam... Drawing from genres as diverse as horror, humour and historical fiction, Kupersmith creates a rich and dazzling spectacle.' -- Kirkus, starred review
'Creepy, exciting, moving, insanely funny: a sweat-soaked reading delight. Careering through a host of snaking lives, eras, and beautifully drawn locations in Vietnam, Build Your House Around My Body is mesmerising. An absolute triumph of storytelling.' -- Nick Bradley, author of The Cat and the City
'A heady, gothic spellbinder of a book.' -- Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble
'Violet Kupersmith has elevated the ghost story into an art form. Her intricately plotted, flamboyantly original novel is by turns steamy, grisly, comic, horrific, and touching. This literally haunting tale will stay with you long after the last page is turned.' -- Valerie Martin, author of Property and I Give it to You
'A brilliant, sweeping epic that swaps spirits and sheds time like snakeskin, Build Your House Around My Body is a marvel. Thrilling, witty, disturbing, righteous - I won't be able to shut up about how damned awesome this book is. Neither will you.'-- Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts
'This lush, sultry phantasmagoria of a novel is as playful, hypnotic, and bone-chilling as a cobra rising to strike.' -- Elisabeth Thomas, author of Catherine House
'Kupersmith's exceptional debut novel (after the collection The Frangipani Hotel) offers profound and original insight on Vietnam's tortured history... Horrifying and hilarious by turns...marvelously written.' -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)