07 August 2018

Review: The Yellow House by Emily O'Grady

RRP $29.99 AUD
Published 24 April 2018
* Copy courtesy of Allen & Unwin *

I can totally understand why The Yellow House by Australian author Emily O'Grady won The Australian/Vogel's Literary Award this year. Just, wow!

The Yellow House is narrated by ten year old Cub and we soon get to know her twin brother Wally, older brother Cassie and her Mum and Dad through her eyes. Cub's late Grandfather Les is known to have committed terrible crimes in the past and their family is still carrying the scars generations later.

Superbly written, the setting, characters and dialogue are uniquely Australian in a refreshing and down to earth style I haven't seen before. Here's an example from page 12:

"Her hair was almost the colour of Cheezels, ..."

And an earlier example from page 11:

"She held on to Mum's elbow, which I knew would embarrass Mum because her elbows were dry as scones."

The novel is incredibly evocative of growing up in rural Australia, complete with swimming in the dam, buying lollies from the local shop and riding bikes to school.

The Yellow House is an exploration of family dynamics, loyalty and secrets through the eyes of the youngest child. It's also a novel about community grudges and whether evil can be inherited or not.

Although the novel has a resolution of sorts, I was left with at least 20 questions at the end and wanting to know more. The novel is narrated by Cub so I guess we're left with what she has managed to figure out, leaving many aspects of the relationships between the characters and several events unanswered. I'm still thinking about it days after finishing it. Highly recommended!

My rating = *****

Carpe Librum!

Would you like to comment?

  1. I'm interested in this youngest child perspective, because we're down to just one son left at home, and I'm trying to understand life from his view point.

  2. Thanks Michele. Just keep in mind that the family in this book won't be like your own, so I'm not terribly confident this would be the best book to give you an insight into your youngest son's view point. But it's definitely an enjoyable read and a great insight into Cubby's point of view. She's still memorable, months later.


Thanks for your comment, Carpe Librum!