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Novel Houses Reviews

Novel Houses by Christina Hardyment

Novel Houses

Twenty Famous Fictional Dwellings

Christina Hardyment

Score pending

2 reviews

Imprint: Bodleian Library
Publisher: Bodleian Library
Publication date: 11 Oct 2019
ISBN: 9781851244805

'Novel Houses' visits unforgettable dwellings in twenty legendary works of English and American fiction. A winning combination of literary criticism, geography and biography, this is an entertaining and insightful celebration of beloved novels and the extraordinary role that houses play in their continuing popularity.

4 stars out of 5
Laura Freeman
16 Nov 2019

"a lively literary gazetteer to great imaginative homes"

This is the perfect Christmas book. Curl up beside your own Lytel Fire-place and imagine yourself among the comforts of the Shire. In The Hobbit (1937), when the homebody Bilbo Baggins is saved from certain death at the hands of the goblins, the eagle who rescues him asks: “What is finer than flying?” Tolkien writes: “Bilbo would have liked to say: ‘A warm bath and late breakfast on the lawn afterwards’; but he thought it better to say nothing at all.”


4 stars out of 5
Kathryn Hughes
31 Oct 2019

"Skilfully deploying biography, close reading and psychogeography, Hardyment creates a series of charming house portraits"

In truth, Hardyment has not found much new to say about these literary homes but, like an excellent housekeeper, she rearranges and polishes up the furniture in such a way that you find yourself inclined to linger. Nor is her job always quite as easy or obvious as you might at first think. Literary houses have a disconcerting habit of either disappearing halfway through a text, or switching places with an uncanny twin... The best fictional houses, Hardyment argues, are complex, protean characters that act decisively on a novel’s plot, rather than mere moodsetters or expressive cartoons.