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Heap House

Edward Carey
"'Delightful, eccentric, heartfelt, surprising, philosophical...' - Eleanor Catton"
Heap House – picture

‘Roald Dahl by way of Charles Dickens’ – Vox.com

The Iremongers have taken up what was not wanted and wanted it.

Clod is an Iremonger. He lives in the Heaps, a vast sea of lost and discarded items collected from all over London. At the centre is Heap House, a puzzle of houses, castles, homes and mysteries reclaimed from the city and built into a living maze of staircases and scurrying rats. The Iremongers are a mean and cruel family, robust and hardworking, but Clod has an illness. He can hear the objects whispering. His birth object, a universal bath plug, says ‘James Henry’, Cousin Tummis’s tap is squeaking ‘Hilary Evelyn Ward-Jackson’ and something in the attic is shouting ‘Robert Burrington’ and it sounds angry.

A storm is brewing over Heap House. The Iremongers are growing restless and the whispers are getting louder. When Clod meets Lucy Pennant, a girl newly arrived from the city, everything changes. The secrets that bind Heap House together begin to unravel to reveal a dark truth that threatens to destroy Clod’s world.

Publication Date: Thu 7 Aug 2014
ISBN Hardback: 9781471401565
ISBN Ebook: 9781471401589
ISBN Paperback: 9781471401596

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Author

Edward Carey

Edward Carey is a playwright, novelist and illustrator. He has worked for the theatre in London, Lithuania and Romania and with a shadow puppet master in Malaysia. He has written two illustrated novels for adults - OBSERVATORY MANSIONS and ALVA AND IRVA - and both have been translated into many different languages. He lives in Austin, Texas, where he wrote the Iremonger Trilogy because he missed feeling cold and gloomy. Follow Edward on Twitter: @EdwardCarey70 or find out more about his books at edwardcareyauthor.com

Extract

It all really began, all the terrible business that followed, on the day my Aunt Rosamud's door handle went missing. It was my aunt's particular door handle, a brass one. It did not help that she had been all over the mansion the day before with it, looking for things to complain about as was her habit. She had stalked through every floor, she had been up and down staircases, opening doors at every opportunity, finding fault. And during all her thorough investigations she insisted that her door handle was about her, only now it was not. Someone, she screamed, had taken it. There hadn't been such a fuss since my Great Uncle Pitter lost his safety pin. On that occasion there was searching all the way up and down the building only for it to be discovered that poor old Uncle had had it all along, it had fallen through the ripped lining of his jacket pocket. I was the one that found it. They looked at me very queerly afterwards, my family did, or I should say more queerly, because I was never absolutely trusted and was often shooed from place to place. After the safety pin was found it seemed to confirm something more in my family, and some of my aunts and cousins would steer clear of me, not even speaking to me, whilst others, my cousin Moorcus for example, would seek me out. Cousin Moorcus was certain that I had hidden the pin in the jacket myself and down a dim passageway he caught up with me and smacked my head against the wall, counting to twelve as he did it (my age at the time), and lifted me high up onto a coat hook, leaving me suspended there until I was found two hours later by one of the servants. Great Uncle Pitter was most apologetic after his pin was found and never, I think, properly recovered from the drama. All that fuss, accusing so many people. He died the next spring, in his sleep, his safety pin pinned to his pyjamas. 'But how could you tell, Clod?' my relations wondered. 'How could you know the safety pin was there?' 'I heard it, sir,' I said, 'calling out.'