Review - The House by Simon Lelic

The House by Simon Lelic
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

But that was a mistake. Because someone has just been murdered. Right outside their back door

Utterly riveting, cunningly written and bursting full of character.

The book follows Jack and Syd as they buy their first house, which is a strange deal and include all of the previous owners stuff. The story follows Jack and Syd as something terrible happens and a body is found just outside their house.

Above all, this story was about family. It made me realise that I'm extremely lucky with the caring family I have and made me think that not everyone is quite so lucky. It tells of Syd’s story of her abusive parent and the scars that her childhood has left on her as an adult.


Both Jack and Syd are written with such depth that you can't help but care for them. There are so many parts where I actually laughed out loud, especially during that electric banana incident.

Lelic does a fantastic job of drawing you into the characters and above all, they seem like pretty normal people, with realistic flaws.

Plot device

The format was unique. The book is basically a diary written by Jack and Syd, who take it in turns to recall the events that have played out. These make up the different chapters. This allows the story to be told in a very human voice, it felt like Syd and Jack were sitting on the couch opposite me telling me their story.

It also allowed for Lelic to write in a very different voice for both characters, which added a lot to the story.


The device used to tell the story makes the writing style very unique. I really enjoyed it. I think Lelic done a marvellous job painting a very real couple, going through extraordinary events, Here are some of my favourite lines from the book.

the paintwork about as attractive as a skin complaint. Great way to create an image of the house.

She stops me gazing at my feet so much; I stop her floating off into the sky. Great way to introduce the characters. Basically everything you need to know about both of them in one sentence.

If this really were a Stephen King novel there’d be cats turning into zombies by chapter three. Great nod to the King himself.

…what I’m not sure he’s ever understood – is how desperate I was to feel something other than what I felt. For a way out. Any way out. When you’re caught inside a dungeon, even the faintest flicker in the dark is like a promise of daylight. And if it turns out not to be, if it turns out instead to be a burning staircase . . . Well, you take your chances anyway. This…just…wow. This is Syd talking about turning to drugs after her childhood.

like just because you know your boyfriend takes a shit every morning, doesn’t mean you want to see him on the toilet. Oh my God. Where did that come from?? I think this illustrates my point about the writing device best.

It’s like that bit in Friends, where Joey is so terrified of The Shining he keeps the book in the freezer? No explanation needed.

She’s like a butterfly caught in some malformed web and though I keep hoping she’ll find the strength to break free, whenever I check on her she appears more ensnared than she did before.

Final thought

Highly recommended and up there with one of the best from the genre I’ve ever read. I'll certainly be looking into more of Lelic’s work.

Read more of my blogs at

View all my reviews



Post a Comment