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Set This House in Order: A Romance of Souls Paperback – January 20, 2004
Pierced by the Sun
A gripping tale of murder and redemption by the author of Like Water for Chocolate. Learn More
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“Set This House in Order brings extraordinary warmth to the chilliest of childhoods.” (O magazine)
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Top Customer Reviews
The best thing I can say about this book is that it changed the way I thought. It's very convincing, and after a few bad experiences with books that failed to convince me of their message, this book was a relief.
This is one of the best fiction books I've read this year. Ruff's handling of the multiple personalities is both inventive and sensitive. He is straightforward in dealing with the abuse that led to Andrew and Penny's fractured state - it's clearly important, but not sensationalized. In spite of the serious subject matter, Ruff manages to incorporate a good measure of humor into the story. Andrew's journey gives a whole new meaning to "finding yourself." Ruff's excellent characterizations make it easy to root for Andrew, Penny, and their collective internal societies.
I like that Ruff avoids the trap of a cliched, sappy ending, instead making it clear that there are no easy solutions. Ruff's plot was engrossing in all its twists and turns, and only one late section seemed to jump a bit off the tracks. This is a compelling book that will entertain you even as it makes you think about how we all interact with the world.
Plot and craft weaknesses aside, though, this is one of the best books I've ever read about multiplicity. I can't possibly express how tiresome it is to read story after story of how "harrowing" and "horrifying" it is to be multiple, what a dreadful condition it is, what a nightmare all multiples' lives must certainly be, since we are, after all, "shattered," "broken," "destroyed" - pick an Adjective of Dread and I can guarantee our lives have been labeled with it. If we aren't written as cringing, manipulative victims of a terrible past, then we're murderers and serial killers With A Difference - and protests to the contrary go largely unheard in the vast, craggy face of the "conventional wisdom" that permeates the genre.
So hooray for Matt Ruff, who did extensive interviews and research among actual multiples who don't fit the stereotype pushed down society's throat - people who actually like being the way they are, regardless of how they got there.
So, what it comes down to is this: as fiction, the book's a decent read, unnecessary plot excitement aside. As a decently accurate alternative to the rest of the multiplicity-related schlock out there, it's one of the most progressive and refreshing books on the subject - fiction or nonfiction - that I've ever had the fortune to find.
While his first two books showed off his ability to handle large casts of distinctive characters and their overlapping stories, he flips the script here by focusing on two characters, both of whom house large and distinctive casts IN THEIR HEADS.
Describing the plot doesn't do the book justice as, like any worthwhile journey, half the pleasure is in getting there, and this book is a rare pleasure, indeed. In the end, Andy Gage and Penny Driver will be two people whose lives stick with you long after you reluctantly put the book down.
Matt Ruff has done it again!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
We had to read this book for a college literature class. Every one of my classmates had the same thing to say, "I couldn't put it down. Read morePublished 25 days ago by BAH
Best sci fi psych books you can get, top notch and different story then you're ever likely to have read before.Published 5 months ago by Julia B. Wenger
This book is truly one of a kind and a real gift for those open to exploring the complexities of the human mind. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Atlanta Guy
Ending left a lot to be desired, but the book was fantastic overall.Published 9 months ago by Memurn3
Loved it so much I read it twice. What a lovely amazing story.Published 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
Carefully and intricately written with shifting perspectives, the author brings you several sides of one story through many different characters. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Julia Iannucci
I wasn't sure what to expect when i started the book, I couldn't remember what it was about from when I had ordered it. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Gretchen S. Rivas
One of the most interesting books I have ever read. I'm not a good reviewer, but the oddness and really different perspective of this story will keep you spellbound if you are an... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Jaime LeBlond
I am a big Matt Ruff fan and I just love his style and voice. This book was such a nice read, I finished it in a weekend. Read morePublished 17 months ago by MissB