To Fill a Yellow House by Sussie Anie review – salvation in a charity shop

Anie’s skilful debut novel follows the development of an unlikely bond between a shopkeeper and a young boy in a hostile inner-city environment

Life in the city is shocking, its din so overwhelming that inhabitants learn to dull it into an incessant ambient roar. It is this bewildering clamour of urban living that sets the rhythm for Sussie Anie’s London-based debut novel, To Fill a Yellow House. It is the story of the unlikely friendship between Kwasi and Rupert. In the course of the novel, we see Kwasi grow from shy infant to artistic and socially unsure young man. Rupert is the ageing owner of a charity shop. He and the shop, poorly maintained after the death of his wife, are both in decline, caught between the whims of the unsupportive council and the threat of local youths.

If this sounds like a small or parochial story, it is testament to Anie’s skill (and background as a short story writer) that it rings with such keen and resonant themes. The only thing Kwasi and Rupert have in common is they are both outsiders, which makes their simple, human closeness all the more touching; amid the pressures of inner-city life, they allow each other the space in which they can be themselves.

Continue reading...


Garth Greenwell: 'Sex is an extraordinary subject for a writer'

The US author on writing about intimacy, the place for pretentiousness in art and surviving lockdown...

Read More >

Stories of Our Perverse Present and Our Haunted Futures

“After the Sun,” a collection by the Danish writer Jonas Eika, stretches past the limits of the or...

Read More >

Common Thread Tying Together 2019’s ‘Most Challenged’ Books: L.G.B.T.Q. Issues

Eight of the 10 titles identified in the American Library Association’s annual ranking of the most ...

Read More >

In Early Modern Europe, Reading and Writing Meant Getting Your Hands Dirty

The path from cogitation to publication has never been as smooth as it is nowadays, technically spea...

Read More >

Following the science: the writers who have made sense of Covid

When R numbers have been daily news, and medical officers have shared platforms with politicians, Ga...

Read More >

Indie Booksellers Recommend: The Best of Independent Presses This July

We asked booksellers at independent bookstores across the country about the best books they were rea...

Read More >