Jill's Take on Kate Tempest's the bricks that built the houses
We were both excited when we we saw The Bricks That Built the Houses at a bookstore in London. I think we both thought about just buying it without doing our requisite reading of the first few pages, but decided the better of it and tucked in while in the bookstore. I was grabbed by the language and cadence of those first few pages. In fact, when I started reading Tempest's book in earnest, I had a really difficult time not reading it in the same tempo and cadence with which she sings. I found myself a few pages in without any clue as to what was going on because I was sort of just being carried away by the tune. I stopped myself and started over purposely slowing down my reading pattern. Doing so helped me get into the characters and the story in a way that I was missing when I was just sort of singing the words.
The book reads like some of her song lyrics. The same sort of language is used and the same sort of disenfranchisement as well. I found myself confused at some points as Tempest follows a thread of family lineage for her characters. She swiftly moves from talking about one of the main characters into describing the life of that character's uncle, for example. It is all relevant, but takes a little bit to keep up. I found myself being carried away by the descriptions of these people's lives and the connections between them. Tempest deftly shows the hidden connections between people's existence and how one instance can impact another.
I really liked the book and found myself compelled to read it. I was a bit disappointed in the ending (I prefer a bit more closure than I was provided) but I usually am. I would definitely recommend The Bricks That Built the Houses as an engaging story and character driven plot. It's not going to change your life or anything, but it is a truly enjoyable read.
Note: This book was left behind at The Pinn Hostel in Tbilisi, Georgia.
Zac's Take on Kate Tempest's The Bricks that built the houses
I was enthralled with the electric language of this novel from the get go. I've been a fan of Kate Tempest on and off for awhile but not terribly active in my listening. Her lyrics are intense as are her beats, and I find it best to take her in small doses.
All of this changed when we were house sitting near Glasgow and found she was playing a few shows in the area. The concert in town was sold out so I bought tickets to see her in Belfast, just a short flight away. We booked a hotel for one night and explored Belfast and went to see her perform. She is amazing live. If you have any chance to see her, don't miss it. She performed her latest album in it's entirety with no breaks, which created an entire world in which the audience inhabited.
The Bricks that Built the Houses is exactly that - an entire world hard spun and cold twisted into reality from Tempests imagination. It's somewhat difficult to parse out what is real and what is observation, and those same traits that make her an excellent rapper and performer on stage and in her albums and poetry make this novel interesting and fun to read. It also seems as if she isn't so much breaking new ground as she is trying to fit herself into this form called a novel. The results to me are very interesting.
There are some of her older songs that are used as the basis or the kernel of this novel, and it's great to see such a kernel grow and blossom in a new form. I don't know Kate Tempest from Adam, but my combined experiences of her music and her novel make me feel that I kinda do.