House of Windows

House of Windows

How did I get it?:
I received it from Faber in exchange for a honest review.

Previously reviewed by the same author:
The Bone Dragon

Synopsis:

‘The body is a house of many windows: there we all sit, showing ourselves and crying on the passers-by to come and love us.’ Robert Louis Stevenson

Nick hates it when people call him a genius. Sure, he’s going to Cambridge University aged 15, but he says that’s just because he works hard. And, secretly, he only works hard to get some kind of attention from his workaholic father.

Not that his strategy is working.

When he arrives at Cambridge, he finds the work hard and socialising even harder. Until, that is, he starts to cox for the college rowing crew and all hell breaks loose…

Thoughts:

The first thing I want to mention in this review is how different House Of Windows is to The Bone Dragon. I think it’s incredible that it’s the same writer, as House Of Windows definitely has a different vibe to it. It’s less dark, and more coming of age. That’s in no way a criticism, I personally feel like it shows what a versatile writer Alexia is!  As I am always honest in my reviews, I will say that House of Windows is definitely a slow burning book, but stick with it, as it’s totally worth it!

House of Windows follows Nick, who is going to Cambridge University at the age of fifteen. Nick is incredibly bright, but doesn’t like to be labelled as a ‘genius’. He just sees himself as hard working! First of all, Nick struggles with the transition to university, especially being so young. He finds the university work harder than he had anticipated and the socialisation is something he’s never really been good at. Nick joins the rowing crew, hoping to eventually make a friend so he doesn’t feel so isolated.

Nick’s isolation from his peers is a really strong element to House Of Windows. I don’t think that Nick is a particularly likeable character at the start of the book, but as the book progresses, I started to understand and empathise with him more. I felt like Nick was craving recognition from his father who worked hard. At the heart of House Of Windows is a story about the importance of family and feeling like you belong.

Alexia Casale is a terrific writer. All of her characters are so well developed and House Of Windows is certainly a character driven story. Don’t expect this book to be like The Bone Dragon, it’s good in its own right and it is totally worth reading!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A very different, but still brilliant book from Alexia Casale!

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