Longlisted For The Matt Richell Award There S Something Magical About The Paper House The Sydney Morning Herald And Then I Was Pregnant, And We Realised We Had No Space For A Baby We Looked At All Kinds Of Houses Big, New Ones With Columns And Render Little Cottages With Beaten Weatherboard A Yellow Brick Monstrosity With A Paved Yard Where There Should Have Been Grass But We Were Drawn To The Rolling Water And Our Heart Stayed Behind When We LeftHeather And Dave Have Found The Perfect Place To Raise Their First Child The House Has Character, But It S The Garden That Really Makes It Red Faced Impatiens, Pockmarked Gums, Six Upright Pittosporums To Keep The Neighbours Out It S A Jungle A Hiding Place A RefugeAnd Then, Without Warning, That Life Is OverHeartbreaking, Fearless, And Ablaze With A Coruscating Beauty All Its Own, The Paper House Tells The Story Of A Woman Sinking Into The Depths Of Grief, And The Desperate Efforts Of Her Loved Ones To Bring Her Up For Air A Sharp Eyed, Bittersweet Depiction Of The Love Between Parents And Children, And The Havoc That Love Can Wreak I think that mental health is often quite a taboo subject, particularly to fictionalise Anna Spargo Ryan does it so well in The Paper House The story is sensitive without being overtly emotional and the plot is clever, yet realistic There are many subtleties entwined throughout the book that allow even deeper thought, which I particularly enjoyed However, my favourite thing about this book is the pace in which the prose is presented If this book were a house it would be clean and crisp and minimalist, with accents of exquisite beauty. I started reading this novel with some trepidation, because I ve read Anna s short stories and articles before I d built some expectations and what if they weren t met So I tried staying a bit detached but couldn t for long this story drew me in From the early stages, where life for Heather and Dave was rolling out as it should, to the devastation of a life lost, and the way everyone tried to make sense, to work out how to be within this new world the afterwards the storyline was gripping Then the way Anna structured her story, the way she coloured it with the beauty of the everyday things, the way she captured the interactions between the main characters both verbally and in their actions the things they did and didn t do , and the way she let it all unfold naturally, was just so right All the characters were whole beings, with flaws and with oddities, and with lovely attributes Real people It really is one of those rare books which is true to life, except expressed in a way most of us would struggle to capture in words The way that Anna moved between Heather s childhood and the current day, to show how the past is relevant, was very sensitively done, and not overworked Sometimes you need to read a book like this to help you make sense of what you have experienced whether the same circumstance, or something similar And this is one of those wonderful books which manages to do this so very well Plus it is set in one of my most favourite places in the world, around the Mornington Peninsula and surrounds Just to top it off Normally I include extracts in my summaries which are mostly for me, to embed books in my mind , but I don t know where to start here, because there are just too many beautiful, painful, insightful and funny elements to quote sometimes than one aspect at once I wouldn t know where to start I guess anyone reading this review will just have to read it for themselves, and pick out their own favourites Because there are just so many. One of the most touching, heartfelt novels I ve had the joy of reading in quite some time. An astonishing debut out of Australia When a young woman s first pregnancy ends in miscarriage, it triggers childhood memories of the figurative and then all too literal absence of her mentally ill mother Despite the imperfect support of loved ones, the protagonist goes to some very dark places Moving, with both light hearted and heavy moments, it s ultimately a hopeful tale The occasionally uneven prose is liberally dotted with, to paraphrase Bohumil Hrabal, sentences so luscious I wanted to pop them in my mouth and suck on them. Occasionally I read a book that reaches deep inside and turns me inside out A truly wonderful, wondrous, real, unreal, touching and thoughtful story I can t recommended it any highly. I think this is a beautifully written book and a wonderful debut, but it didn t really have an affect on me as much as it seems to have had with others I felt removed from the characters the whole time, perhaps because Heather herself is in such an isolated state of mind I could imagine how painful it would be to be in their situation, but I was never made to really feel anything until the end To me, that was the realest moment in the book and I think if there were real moments mixed into the magical parts of the story, the overall effect would have grabbed me. I wish I could wrap myself in the poetry of this book It is exquisitely written so many sentences I could live in and the story is desperately sad, but also somehow hopeful A really beautiful read. Wow this woman can write Her proze is gobsmackingly beautiful I wanted to fall into her writing forever The only thing I craved was of a plot line Can t wait to see what she writes next I am a definite fan. The Paper House is written with the same beauty as The Bell Jar This book took me longer to read than expected because every single sentence deserves a pause of appreciation.