Shortlisted for the 2021 Costa Novel Award
In this powerful, highly anticipated novel from an award-winning author, four people attempt to make a home in the midst of environmental disaster.
Perched on a sloping hill, set away from a small town by the sea, the High House has a tide pool and a mill, a vegetable garden, and, most importantly, a barn full of supplies. Caro, Pauly, Sally, and Grandy are safe, so far, from the rising water that threatens to destroy the town and that has, perhaps, already destroyed everything else. But for how long?
Caro and her younger half-brother, Pauly, arrive at the High House after her father and stepmother fall victim to a faraway climate disaster—but not before they call and urge Caro to leave London. In their new home, a converted summer house cared for by Grandy and his granddaughter, Sally, the two pairs learn to live together. Yet there are limits to their safety, limits to the supplies, limits to what Grandy—the former village caretaker, a man who knows how to do everything—can teach them as his health fails.
A searing novel that takes on parenthood, sacrifice, love, and survival under the threat of extinction, The High House is a stunning, emotionally precise novel about what can be salvaged at the end of the world.
Two half siblings eke out their survival after an environmental catastrophe in the quietly devastating latest from Greengrass (Sight). In the near-future, a London scientist named Francesca travels around the world to study flooding brought on by climate change with her partner, whose 18-year-old daughter Caro watches Francesca's toddler son, Pauly, Caro's half brother. A nonlinear narrative reveals that Francesca has prepared a house on high ground in Suffolk for the family, complete with supplies and a vegetable garden to make them self-sustaining. After Francesca and Caro's father drown in a storm in Florida, Caro and Pauly trek to the isolated home. There, they discover Sally, a young woman whom Francesca hired as a caretaker along with her grandfather, who remembers the last major flood in the area when he was a child. As Caro battles incapacitating grief and Sally grapples with the survival plan bestowed upon them, the world continues to disintegrate. Unlike other postapocalyptic tales, plot is secondary to the emotional weight borne by the characters who know the end is coming, and to the harrowing glimpses of the future as the house's residents "do nothing but try to make sure that we will have enough to eat so that we might continue to do the same the next day." Throughout, their gradual reckoning with their existence and the fate of the planet is made heartbreaking through Greengrass's stunning prose. Painful and beautiful, this is not to be missed. Agent: Lisa Baker, Aitken Alexander Assoc.