Barnaby Smith reviews 'The Bricks that Built the Houses' by Kate Tempest

Barnaby Smith reviews 'The Bricks that Built the Houses' by Kate Tempest

The Bricks that Built the Houses

by by Kate Tempest

Bloomsbury $27.99 pb, 399 pp, 9781408857311

Kate Tempest's début is the expansion of a story she threaded through her 2014 album of protest hip-hop, Everybody Down. In its transformation to novel form it has become part love story, part state of the nation, part existential treatise. This much-admired spoken-word artist's venture into prose is a compelling attempt at capturing the restlessness and anger of disenfranchised 'millenials' (Tempest was born in 1985), yet it is also surprisingly unimaginative in its style, and frustratingly tangential.

Read the rest of this article by purchasing a subscription to ABR Online, or subscribe to the print edition to receive access to ABR Online free of charge.

If you are a single issue subscriber you will need to upgrade your subscription to view back issues.

If you are already subscribed, click here to log in.

Barnaby Smith

Barnaby Smith

Barnaby Smith is a writer, critic, poet, and musician currently based in northern New South Wales. He has written for Rolling Stone, the ABC, The Guardian, The Lifted Brow, The Quietus, Art Guide, Southerly, Cordite, Best Australian Poems and many others. In 2018 he won the Scarlett Award for art writing.

Leave a comment

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.

NB: If you are an ABR Online subscriber or contributor, you will need to login to ABR Online in order to post a comment. If you have forgotten your login details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.