The House of Rumour

ISBN 13: 9780340923177

The House of Rumour

3.35 avg rating
( 562 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780340923177: The House of Rumour

Mixing the invented and the real, The House of Rumour explores World War II spy intrigue (featuring Ian Fleming), occultism (Aleister Crowley), the West Coast science-fiction set (Robert Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and Philip K. Dick all appear), and the new-wave music scene of the 1980s. The decades-spanning, labyrinthine plot also weaves in the Jonestown massacre and Rudolf Hess, UFO sightings and B movies. Told in a variety of narrative voices, what at first appears to be a constellation of random events begins to cohere as the work of a shadow organization — or is it just coincidence? Tying the strands together is Larry Zagorski, an early pulp-fiction writer turned U.S. airman turned “American gnostic,” who looks back on his long and eventful life, searching for connections between the seemingly disparate parts. The teeming network of interlaced secrets he uncovers has personal relevance — it mirrors a book of twenty-two interconnected stories he once wrote, inspired by the major arcana cards in the tarot. Hailed by the Guardian as an heir to Don DeLillo’s Underworld, The House of Rumour is a tour de force that sweeps the listener through a century’s worth of secret histories.

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About the Author:

Jake Arnott’s 1999 debut, The Long Firm, met with huge acclaim, as have his four subsequent novels. Both The Long Firm and He Kills Coppers have been made into widely praised TV dramas in the U.K. Arnott lives in London.

Review:

"Jake Arnott’s newest novel, The House of Rumour, is a page-turner with exceptional style, depth, thought, camp, counter-history and intrigue. It’s both sci-fi/fantasy pulp and an ambitiously epic work of cosmic proportions: a welcome paradox of a novel that boldly toys with the boundaries between high and low-brow art." Kirkus, “Best Books of 2013”

"Whenever he's got a new book out I drop everything..." —David Bowie

"Ingenious. Impressively detailed. An entertaining farrago whose invention never flags, The House of Rumour [chronicles] the lifestyles of the nerdy and perverted who made up the fringe-science/SF scene in 1940s Southern California." Los Angeles Review of Books

"A novel that combines the pleasures of genre fiction and the thematic richness of literary fiction, while blurring the line between the two and exploding the very concept of genre." Kirkus

"Jake Arnott's The House of Rumour [is a] thought-provoking puzzle-book of interlocking and overlapping stories." Chicago Tribune Printers Row

"Arnott’s mesh of fantasy and fact holds together as a novel. He makes scenes live, both in their moments and as parts of a whole. He has no trouble slipping into his characters' skins, transmitting empathically from their often lonesome, disturbed interiors.... Despite his narrator’s metaphor of free particles, Arnott doesn’t say that history is the sum of random collisions, and therefore absurd, weightless. He says that history is weightier, less random than we can know, because at innumerable decision points, great and small – some minutely documented for posterity, most now dead with their owners – another choice could have been made. Why a decision went as it did, why history turned a certain way: That is the secret. We can call these facts obvious, and so dismiss them. But like any good novel, The House of Rumour makes the obvious problematic, the factual mysterious. It makes the question of what is real in our world feel like the biggest secret of all." —Devin McKinney, Critics at Large

"I have always enjoyed Jake Arnott’s glam-rock gangster novels, but they hardly prepared me for The House of Rumour. Confirming that the inter-linked short story is the coolest literary form du jour, Arnott shuffled narratives about science-fiction, Scientology, Eighties pop stars, doomed love, nuclear physics and the occult into a knowing, clever and intricately woven collection that deserves to rain on Cloud Atlas’s parade or accompany Jennifer Egan on a visit to the goon squad. Brilliant and oddly moving, The House of Rumour deserved to win every prize going, including Eurovision."James Kidd, "Books of the Year," —The Independent

"A conspiracy thriller filled with bewildering connections, dark conjecture and arcane information, The House of Rumour perhaps most resembles The Da Vinci Code, rewritten by an author with the gifts of characterisation, wit and literacy." Guardian

"Like Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad or David Mitchell's Ghostwritten, its form uses interlinked --short stories....The House of Rumour is a brilliant achievement that invites repeated readings." Independent

"A virtuoso blurring of fact and fantasy...Highly entertaining and perhaps even mind-expanding, Arnott’s high-class conjuring act shows that truth really is stranger than fiction." Sunday Times

"Jake Arnott's The House of Rumour is as ambitious and curiously constructed a novel as I have read in years, a linked collection of stories that brilliantly blends history with fiction." Largehearted Boy

"[A] complicated crazy-quilt of a story, House of Rumour is fascinating as much for the way it draws connections (sometimes real, sometimes invented) between disparate subjects like the invention of James Bond and Virginia Woolf's suicide as for the story that Arnott is telling." io9

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