The Smell of Other People's Houses
Faber and Faber (13+)
A tapestry of four rites of passage stories told across four different seasons against the backdrop of Alaskan life and landscapes. Ruth, Dora, Alyce and Hank each have their own concerns and anxieties to contend with in their home lives. As their stories and characters develop, they begin to discover parallels and interconnections in the stories and secrets they hold.
Not a word is wasted in these lyrical stories of family, romance, tragedy good fortune and redemption. Short chapters with alternating points of view immerse readers into multiple storylines where there is a tonal balance between a sense of urgency and great reflection. The four protagonists are subtly and so convincingly developed it is difficult to imagine they are not real people. The author has succeeded in creating a thoroughly convincing world.
Born and raised in Alaska and a longtime journalist for Alaska Public Radio, Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock spent ten years fishing commercially and raised her children on a boat in Southeast Alaska - bringing a rare authenticity to her writing about America's last frontier. She now lives in Lyons, Colorado, where she's slowly rebuilding her house after the catastrophic floods of September 2013. The Smell of Other People's Houses is her first novel, and inspired by her experiences of growing up in Alaska.