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This Is the House That Luke Built

This Is the House That Luke Built

224 pages
Published:   February 7, 2023
Fiction  /  Novels
Paperback:   9781773102832    $22.95

Shortlisted, Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award

Luke Tremblett is one of five fishermen lost at sea off the coast of Newfoundland. Rose is left to pick up the pieces and learn to live with his sudden absence. And then there are three children, including two-month-old Emily, struggling to face an unbearable loss that has engulfed them.

This sharp, hard-edged novel begins two years after Luke’s disappearance, at the moment that Rose takes her first step through the wall of the house Luke was building when he died. Her body vibrating, she enters a space where Luke waits for her.

Part novel, part fable, part essay on grief, with interlocking scenes that move between past and present and visuals that punctuate the narrative like signposts, This Is the House That Luke Built deftly explores existential questions about what it means to be alive.

A strikingly original debut that combines compassion and bravura to dazzling effect, this new novel by Violet Browne heralds the arrival of a significant new voice.
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Violet Browne is a writer from Placentia Bay, NL, who now lives in St. John’s. She holds an MA in creative writing from Memorial University and works for the Registered Nurses’ Union of Newfoundland and Labrador. This Is the House That Luke Built, Browne’s first novel, is based on her own experiences after losing her husband at sea.


Shortlisted: Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award


“Sharp and hard biting. Here is charged, magical craft — concise, punching prose. Grief is heart-roiling throughout — nuanced, tender, and tough. This Is the House That Luke Built busts open from the foundation up with loss and ultimately love. And it’s very funny. This is one of my absolute favourite novels ever.” — Lisa Moore, author of This Is How We Love

“In this evocative and lyrical debut, Violet Browne explores what it’s like to live through loss, always wondering if that loss could be undone. This is a moving and artfully crafted story by a writer to watch.” — Alix Ohlin, author of We Want What We Want

“Violet Browne lays bare her most haunted, vulnerable self with this improbably triumphant novel about the vigour and resilience of the human heart. Browne’s prose is buoyant, bold, and forthright, offering up an exquisitely fragmented tale about the tenuous nature of memory and the deep, complex bonds of community and family.” — Joel Thomas Hynes, author of We'll All Be Burnt in Our Beds Some Night

“With supple prose that capers through time, Browne evokes the many ‘nows’ of grief. What makes this intricate novel truly memorable, though, is its tone. Despite the sorrow it expresses, the sentences and sensibility are filled with life and vitality. This is an irresistibly imaginative, wonderfully funny, and deeply loving debut.” — Kyo Maclear, author of Birds Art Life

This Is the House That Luke Built is an atmospheric literary novel that celebrates the persistence of love and makes note of the fragmentary nature of memories.” — Foreword Reviews (starred review)

“Well-written, involving and considered.” — The Telegram

“A tender and breath-taking love story, with a structure as layered and intricate as any long-time relationship.” — Buried in Print

“A purely original debut that combines compassion and dazzling effects, this new novel by Violet Browne announces the arrival of a significant new voice.” — Ottawa Life

“This is so much more than merely a story; it is a truth Browne has lived, a dissertation on the ebb and flow of grief. She leads us on the journey from its raw beginning to reinventing oneself after a loss, to learning to really live again, and not without warmth and hope and a generous dose of humour.” — Miramichi Reader