Heap House

Heap House

Book - 2014
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Young Clod, living in his family's mansion amongst a mass of shifting forgotten items, becomes aware of the items whispering to him and senses a growing storm ahead, needing the help of an orphan servant to unravel the mystery.
"Young Clod is an Iremonger. He lives in at Heap House, his family's mansion at the center of the Heaps, a vast sea of lost and discarded items whose ever-shifting masses have been known to swallow people alive. The Iremongers are an odd old family, each the owner of a Birth Object they must keep with them at all times. Clod is perhaps the oddest of all--his gift and his curse is that he can hear all of the objects of Heap House whispering. Yes, a storm is brewing over Heap House. The Iremongers are growing restless and the house's many objects are showing strange signs of life. Clod is on the cusp of being 'trousered' and married off (unhappily) to his cousin Pinalippy when he meets the plucky orphan servant Lucy Pennant, with whose help he begins to uncover the dark secrets of his family's empire."--Publisher's website.
Publisher: New York, NY :, The Overlook Press,, 2014
Copyright Date: ©2013
ISBN: 9781468309539
1468309536
Characteristics: 404 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm

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AL_STEFFEN Nov 23, 2016

This series is the best thing that I read in 2015.
Imaginative, truly weird, I was constantly being shocked and delighted, grimacing, and I read all three books with a racing heart.
The first book is maybe the best; it lays the groundwork for this bizarre alternate London, or Lungdon, that Carey has created, where a family called the Iremongers control the growing city's garbage heaps, living and inbreeding in an enormous mansion situated in the ocean of garbage that borders London. These heaps literally function as an ocean, people drown in their trash, there are waves, and the family is truly creepy - 100 or so interrelated individuals and a full staff of servants, all of whom are given at their birth an object they must forever keep on their person. These objects are rarely glamorous, the main character, Clod's, is a bathplug; I took a test online and given a mousetrap.
To complicate an already marvelous plot, certain members of this trash dynasty have special gifts (I think from inbreeding). Clod, the series protagonist, can hear the objects of Heap House speaking. His bathplug, for example, constantly names itself as "James Henry Hayward."
I will say, this book may be tricky to get invested in at first, it is written as a series of narrations by multiple characters, but after the first third, I was completely captivated (if confused) had agreed to believe in the conditions of the Iremonger existence and NEEDED to know what in the hell was going on and what in the hell was going to happen.

These books are such fascinating reads. To put such import on mundane, everyday objects, to call attention to the intimacy that exists between people and their things, is brilliant of Carey. It really gets you thinking about those THINGS that surround us and our treatment of them, how quickly they could overwhelm us if they were to become animate. Imagine replacing your cell phone with a watering can, or a 10 lb weight, or a woman's shoe size 10 (all real examples of Iremonger birth objects) never going anywhere without this thing, and feeling sick and wrong if it were to be taken from you.
I want to write so much more about what happens in this series, but I am loathe to spoil anything. I was so deliciously shocked by the end of "Heap House" and I want others to experience this. "Foulsham" book 2, is so gritty, you actually feel physically dirty reading it. I caught myself rubbing my forearms sometimes as if I were covered in grime from the London heaps. I haven't even mentioned that these books are disturbingly illustrated. I would so love to give anyone a play by play of how this series pans out - if you aren't interested in actually reading the books, hearing about them is so entertaining. Treat yourself and read "Heap House".

I'm linking an NPR review if you didn't believe me that these books are exceptional.
http://www.npr.org/2014/10/17/3569895

g
GummiGirl
Dec 05, 2014

Entertaining and and well written.

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