Following a long-standing feud and looking to settle the score, a woman decides to dismantle her home—alone and by hand—and move it across a frozen pond during a harsh New England winter in this mesmerizing debut.
Home is certainly not where Del’s heart is. After a local scandal led to her parents’ divorce and the rest of her family turned their backs on her, Del left her small town and cut off contact.
Now, with both of her parents gone, a chance has arrived for Del to retaliate.
Her uncle wants the one thing Del inherited: the family home.
Instead of handing the place over, and with no other resources at her disposal, Del decides she will tear the place apart herself—piece by piece.
But Del will soon discover, the task stirs up more than just old memories as relatives—each in their own state of unraveling—come knocking on her door.
This spare, strange, magical book is a story not only about the powerlessness and hurt that run through a family but also about the moments when brokenness can offer us the rare chance to start again.
About the Author
A native of New England, Colleen Hubbard now lives in the U.K. with her family. She wrote her debut novel, Housebreaking, while on maternity leave from her job with the NHS. She graduated from the University of East Anglia's MA program in creative writing, where she earned the Head of School Prize with a distinction.
“An unforgettable portrait of a young woman at war with the world and herself. Protagonist Del can be hard to like, but she remains easy to love. This is a brilliant and exciting debut.”
—Karen Joy Fowler, New York Times bestselling author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
“A wry and unexpectedly tender story of finding the family we need when we least expect it. Perfect for fans of Olive Kitteridge and The Good House.”
—Eleanor Brown, New York Times bestselling author of The Weird Sisters
“Hubbard skillfully captures Del’s desperation while slowly unraveling the story of her late parents’ lives. This is a moving take on how a hard-knock existence can be transformed by friendship and determination.”
“Deliciously witty and deeply poignant. Sharp, surprising and memorable, this is a book I know I’ll keep mulling over for a long, long time.”
—Emma Hooper, bestselling author of Etta and Otto and Russell and James
“Darkly funny and brimming with pathos...For fans of Elizabeth Strout, Ottessa Moshfegh...This is a humorous and life-affirming trip through the fraught, weird heart of America, exploring the granular details that make and break a life.”
—Sharlene Teo, award-winning author of Ponti
“A keenly observed and achingly real story of grief and loss and the extraordinary lengths one woman goes to make sense of her past and discover who she might become.”
—Dana Reinhardt, author of Tomorrow There Will Be Sun