In Our House, Fiona Lawson returns home from a long weekend, only to discover movers unloading a van full of another family’s belongings into her tony Trinity Avenue home. Stranger still, her belongings and those of her two sons have vanished, and this new family insists they own the house, although Fiona never put it on the market. From this unsettling scenario, British author Louise Candlish proceeds to masterfully spool out the complicated series of events that led Fiona and Bram, her estranged husband with whom she shares the home in a “bird’s nest” co-parenting arrangement, to reach this shocking moment.
Candlish tells a large part of the story through a podcast called “The Victim,” which Fiona narrates, and through a Word document written by Bram, both in retrospect. The podcast and Word document give the reader the opportunity to hear Fiona’s and Bram’s differing perceptions of the events as they unfold. This narrative structure also allows the reader to feel the full weight of the characters’ emotions, from Fiona’s initial utter perplexity to Bram’s almost fatalistic resignation, and to discover the deep-rooted origins of their relationship’s complexities. Allowing the reader to plumb these depths gives the plot real plausibility. What seems outlandishly far-fetched at first slowly becomes uncomfortably conceivable and makes this novel nearly impossible to put aside.
Candlish is the author of 12 novels, and she makes her U.S. publishing debut with Our House, a frightening journey that will leave readers wondering if this could happen to them. The novel is a clear demonstration of Candlish’s considerable skill as a writer, and is sure to garner a new throng of fans here in the States.