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Publisher's Summary

The Sunday Times best seller.

Award-winning poet and rapper Kate Tempest's electrifying debut novel takes us into the beating heart of the capital in this multigenerational tale of drugs, desire and belonging.

It gets into your bones. You don't even realise it until you're driving through it, watching all the things you've always known and leaving them behind.

Young Londoners Becky, Harry and Leon are leaving town in a fourth-hand Ford Cortina with a suitcase full of money. They are running from jealous boyfriends, dead-end jobs, violent maniacs and disgruntled drug dealers, in the hope of escaping the restless tedium of life in Southeast London - the place they have always called home.

As the story moves back in time, to before they had to leave, we see them torn between confidence and self-loathing, between loneliness and desire, between desperate ambition and the terrifying prospect of getting nothing done.

In The Bricks That Built the Houses, Kate Tempest explores contemporary city life with a powerful moral microscope, giving us irresistible stories of hidden lives and showing us how the best intentions don't always lead to the right decisions.

Cover designed by Greg Heinimann.

©2016 Kate Tempest (P)2017 Audible, Ltd

Critic Reviews

"One of the leading wordsmiths of our time. She turns her raw, observational skills in book form to the urban young growing up poor - sex, drugs and increasing poverty amid the looming threat of gentrification." (Jon Snow)
"This is a bold, bright, beguiling novel; a lustrous pageant that dazzles and grips. An irresistible, immersive snapshot of a changing world, delivered in woozy, staccato sentences. There's great pleasure to be taken from Tempest's debut. She may well be unstoppable." ( Sunday Telegraph)
"It's hard not to be blown away by Kate Tempest. A stirring, post-Dickensian lens trained on London's lonely underbelly." ( Evening Standard)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Beautifully written but disappointing narration

The narrator's accent was grating and distracting. Once you get past the accent the story is beautifully told though. Wonderfully descriptive text.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-27-18

Stunning use of language

To be honest, I had never heard of Kate Tempest before listening to this audio book. I cannot believe what a gap that was in my life. Her use of language ranks with the very, very best. Dylan Thomas, Ernest Hemingway, Arundhati Roy and the like. I found that the language of The Bricks that Built the Houses conjured vivid images for me. I could see the people and places being described, and could feel the emotions and tactile descriptions. The book is a poem and the story feels real, but despite the grim and gritty background to the story there is beauty and love, joy and passion that deserve to be recognized and nodded to. I absolutely loved this book and would recommend it to anyone with an open mind and heart.

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  • Phil Rusted
  • 05-23-18

such easy effortless conversational writing.

loved it, like her music but deeper, more conversational, didn't want it to finish.
brilliant

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • papapownall
  • 05-11-18

A grimey tale of south London bought to life

I really like Kate Tempest and it was great to hear her narrate this book herself. Her delivery is rhythmic and direct and the storyline pulls no punches in its description of south Londoners in their struggles through life in a similar vein to her Let Them Eat Chaos work. Kate is fantastic at building complex characters that are realistic and believable and her word play is incredibly detailed and compelling. The rounded vowels of her south London dialect provide authenticity which I cannot imagine for someone reading this story themselves.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • D. J. Burnham
  • 05-02-18

Dull & Dreary tale of life in South London

I really struggled to get to the end of this listen and having got there I wonder why I bothered.
Unless you like grim humourless South London grime, drugs and misery I'd give this one a miss.

[spoiler sorry - not all that much story anyway]
There's a hook at the start - with a group of friends running away from South London.
Then there's about 10 chapters of boring back story
A bit of excitement in a small time drug dealing exchange going wrong
There's a showdown in a pub where the 2 strands of the story come together and explains why the friends are on the run. Then a final resolution of sorts.

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  • Chris
  • 03-01-18

Just listen.

I have been obsessed with this book ever since listening to “everybody down” it feels like my understanding has been has been expanded and I have seen the same scenes from different angles. Anything by Kate is gold and the fact she reads it herself makes it so much better.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Gemma
  • 02-20-18

Probably the best audiobook I've ever listened to

I was sad when this finished. Kate Tempest is a great story teller and her narration is great.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Fionn Feasa
  • 02-10-18

rich and recommended

Taking the basic storyline from 'Everybody Down, Tempests album, expanding the story, filling out the characters and making small but important changes.

One of the major strengths of this book are the rich and evocative characters, filled out in descriptor's, and Joycean expositions of their inner landscapes. Though circulating primarily around a group of twenty something young people, great care is paid in building images of their parents and full background, how this has played into the inheritance of the central characters, and how historical ancedents have a legacy.

Set in south London on the backdrop of poverty and dreams, Tempests rich and playful use of language makes this book, and her reading of it (more aptly perhaps performance) makes it an act of pure genius.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Pamela Scott
  • 12-28-17

Stunning

The Bricks that Built the Houses is amazing. I loved everything about it. I loved the setting, modern-day London. Tempest breathes life into the city and I could practically hear, smell and taste it. I loved the characters as well. They are all wonderfully formed, made of flesh and bone. I loved them all and wanted everything to work out for them. The plot is great as well, gritty and compelling. I really like Tempest’s prose style. The Bricks that Built the Houses is vivid and full of rich detail. I LOVED this book and will gush about it for months to come. Amazing!

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  • michael
  • 12-04-17

Awesome book

Really very good. I enjoyed very much. Highly recommended. Jump in the waters lovely in South London

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mark Train
  • 12-01-17

Great book

Would you listen to The Bricks That Built the Houses again? Why?

Excellent plot, writing style and narration

What other book might you compare The Bricks That Built the Houses to, and why?

Excellent plot, writing style and narration

Which character – as performed by Kate Tempest – was your favourite?

Excellent plot, writing style and narration

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Excellent plot, writing style and narration

Any additional comments?

Excellent plot, writing style and narration

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-02-18

captivating

Kate perfectly captures people, motivations, emotions, mood, London. She kept me enthralled, sad to finish

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  • Alana Picone
  • 04-03-18

love it!!!!!

honest, raw, punchy and real. I receive so much from your writing, thanks Kate Tempest. big big fan.