Something Like A House

Sid Smith

2002 Winner

Whitbread First Novel Award

2001 Winner

James Tait Black Prize for Fiction

05 January 2012
256 pages


This is Jim Fraser's story: an incredible, often chilling account of his life as an army deserter living through the terrible upheavals of the Cultural Revolution, when China descended into a moral and physical chaos so extreme that cannibalism became, for some, the only way of survival. Unable to speak the language and totally ignorant of local customs, Jim Fraser makes his home in a community so isolated that even the Cultural Revolution impinges little on the ways of the villagers. Except that the village's very isolation has made it the perfect location for experiments of sheer, indescribable terror . . .

'I suspect this book will be compared with Robinson Crusoe (the outsider building his own abode) and Lord of the Flies (the long-term effects of context on individual mortality). It is a profound and sophisticated work of fiction' Observer