The House on the Edge by Alex Cotter

The House on the Edge by Alex Cotter

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was catching up on some long overdue review copies this weekend and The House On The Edge was on top of the pile. It’s a Nosy Crow book which always means quality – the way they present their titles and package them is always delicious. There’s always a little extra something to them and here, in a book all about what lies beneath, a slender crack twists and jags its way across each and every page. Perfect. Those little stylistic details tell us so much extra about a book, and I love how Nosy Crow looks for those opportunities in their titles.

The House on the Edge is smart, unusual stuff. It’s the story of a family with secrets in a house that’s right on the edge of a cliff. There’s a crack in the ground that keeps going bigger, there might be sea ghosts in the basement, and there’s a child gone missing. It’s a lot and I think it could run away from a writer quite easily, but Alex Cotter keeps it together well. In fact, I think she does something super interesting here. Faith is struggling with a lot of things in her world and trying desperately to keep everything going. The writing reflects this with a kind of jerky, sudden vibrant quality – we skip and dance and dodge through all of the noise until we discover the things that Faith isn’t telling us – the crack that lies underneath her world. The way that the story’s being told tells us as much as the story itself and that’s exciting to me. There’s a lot of quality to that.

One thing to mention is that this book does go to some quite strong emotional spaces. It does so with a lot of grace and delicacy and often obliquely because Faith herself isn’t ready to tell us what’s happening, but it does give the book a very particular resonance. If you are reading this in a context with other readers, especially those who are unknown to you, it may be worthwhile to read it yourself in advance just so you have an idea of what to expect and how best to support your readers.

My thanks to Nosy Crow for a review copy.

View all my reviews

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