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Set This House in Order: A Romance of Souls

by

Set This House in Order: A Romance of Souls Cover

 

Staff Pick

Seattle author Matt Ruff presents one of the most inventive and addictive novels of recent memory. Protagonist Andrew Gage suffers from multiple personality disorder. When he meets a young woman suffering from the same affliction, the fragile coexistence shared by his personalities is put to the test. Readers who enjoy other "quirky" Northwest writers (particularly Katherine Dunn), will find Set This House in Order equally impressive.
Recommended by Gerry, Powells.com

Seattle author Matt Ruff presents one of the most inventive and addictive novels of recent memory. Protagonist Andrew Gage suffers from multiple personality disorder. When he meets a young woman suffering from the same affliction, the fragile coexistence shared by his personalities is put to the test. Readers who enjoy other "quirky" Northwest writers (particularly Katherine Dunn), will find Set This House in Order equally impressive.
Recommended by Gerry, Powells.com

Review-A-Day

"Set This House in Order is exhilarating and unique. The challenge that Ruff sets himself is more than fully met, with a cohesive narrative that builds up speed to a satisfying climax and a poignant final chapter. Ruff includes some astonishing twists to the plot, but he never veers from the believable. With strong, sympathetic characterizations, he takes the reader on a journey both psychological and geographical. While Ruff's previous two novels have illustrated a dazzling imagination and a flair for the fantastic and futuristic, Set This House in Order is firmly set in the here and now. But the present still provides fertile soil for his obvious talents." Georgie Lewis, Powells.com (read the entire Powells.com review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Andy Gage was born in 1965 and murdered not long after by his stepfather. . . . It was no ordinary murder. Though the torture and abuse that killed him were real, Andy Gage's death wasn't. Only his soul actually died, and when it died, it broke in pieces. Then the pieces became souls in their own right, coinheritors of Andy Gage's life. . . .

While Andy deals with the outside world, more than a hundred other souls share an imaginary house inside Andy's head, struggling to maintain an orderly coexistence: Aaron, the father figure; Adam, the mischievous teenager; Jake, the frightened little boy; Aunt Sam, the artist; Seferis, the defender; and Gideon, who wants to get rid of Andy and the others and run things on his own.

Andy's new coworker, Penny Driver, is also a multiple personality, a fact that Penny is only partially aware of. When several of Penny's other souls ask Andy for help, Andy reluctantly agrees, setting in motion a chain of events that threatens to destroy the stability of the house. Now Andy and Penny must work together to uncover a terrible secret that Andy has been keeping . . . from himself.

Review:

"Set This House in Order brings extraordinary warmth to the chilliest of childhoods." O magazine

Review:

"The novel is also funny, wildly inventive, and emotionally astute...a shockingly likable suspense story." Gail Caldwell, Boston Globe

Review:

"[Ruff's] matter-of-fact depiction of the relationships between different personalities is remarkable for its imaginative details. Though he takes his hero seriously, Ruff offers plenty of comic situations as Andrew tries to interact with the outside world while the other souls kibbitz. Best of all is the endearing Andrew, a truly original protagonist. Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Review:

"Because of the high quality of characterization in it and the unusual route the many souls of Andy Gage must take on his journey of self-discovery, this is an engaging piece of work." Regina Schroeder, Booklist

About the Author

Matt Ruff is not a multiple personality, but he is an obsessive personality, a condition for which he self-medicates with marriage to a patient woman. He is the author of two previous novels, Fool on the Hilland Sewer, Gas &Electric: The Public Works Trilogy.He lives in Seattle, Washington, in what is arguably the most beautiful apartment house in the city.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 4 comments:

Deb Rhodes, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by Deb Rhodes)
This tale of what it's like living with multiplicity (or Dissociative Identity Disorder, as it is now commonly called) is a wild ride into the mind of one who experiences life as many different personalities, or "souls" as the body's host refers to them.

The author's ability to create so many fascinating characters, as well as his skill in keeping them (and the intricate plot) all straight, is stunning. His creative abilities seem boundless, and his powers of description are a pure delight.

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Gordon Osse, January 25, 2010 (view all comments by Gordon Osse)
I think we're all houses with many residents, it's just a matter of degree. This insight has helped me considerably in my dealings with others.

This is a heartbreaking look at what it means to be human in the 21st century, when you can't shut the windows and doors, and the storm never lets up.

Easily Ruff's best book, and the only book I've read that compares in a way is Phil Dick's "Clans of the Alphane Moon."
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(2 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
alibeale, January 1, 2010 (view all comments by alibeale)
i loved this book - it was so unique, and the writing was so good.
describing it as a book about a person with multiple personalities doesn't do it justice.
this is a book about life, tough life, and 1 person's solutions to impossible scenarios.
when i read that back, it sounds like this is a typical feel good book about triumph over adversity -yuck! that's not this at all - this is funny, clever, cool and extremely fascinating.
i highly recommend it.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 4 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780060954857
Author:
Ruff, Matt
Publisher:
Harper Perennial
Author:
by Matt Ruff
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Mystery & Detective - General
Subject:
Psychological
Subject:
Fantasy - General
Subject:
General Biography
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade PB
Publication Date:
20040131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
496
Dimensions:
8.05x5.33x.86 in. .88 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » Fantasy » General
History and Social Science » American Studies » Popular Culture

Set This House in Order: A Romance of Souls Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$10.50 In Stock
Product details 496 pages Harper Perennial - English 9780060954857 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Seattle author Matt Ruff presents one of the most inventive and addictive novels of recent memory. Protagonist Andrew Gage suffers from multiple personality disorder. When he meets a young woman suffering from the same affliction, the fragile coexistence shared by his personalities is put to the test. Readers who enjoy other "quirky" Northwest writers (particularly Katherine Dunn), will find Set This House in Order equally impressive.

"Staff Pick" by ,

Seattle author Matt Ruff presents one of the most inventive and addictive novels of recent memory. Protagonist Andrew Gage suffers from multiple personality disorder. When he meets a young woman suffering from the same affliction, the fragile coexistence shared by his personalities is put to the test. Readers who enjoy other "quirky" Northwest writers (particularly Katherine Dunn), will find Set This House in Order equally impressive.

"Review A Day" by , "Set This House in Order is exhilarating and unique. The challenge that Ruff sets himself is more than fully met, with a cohesive narrative that builds up speed to a satisfying climax and a poignant final chapter. Ruff includes some astonishing twists to the plot, but he never veers from the believable. With strong, sympathetic characterizations, he takes the reader on a journey both psychological and geographical. While Ruff's previous two novels have illustrated a dazzling imagination and a flair for the fantastic and futuristic, Set This House in Order is firmly set in the here and now. But the present still provides fertile soil for his obvious talents." (read the entire Powells.com review)
"Review" by , "Set This House in Order brings extraordinary warmth to the chilliest of childhoods."
"Review" by , "The novel is also funny, wildly inventive, and emotionally astute...a shockingly likable suspense story."
"Review" by , "[Ruff's] matter-of-fact depiction of the relationships between different personalities is remarkable for its imaginative details. Though he takes his hero seriously, Ruff offers plenty of comic situations as Andrew tries to interact with the outside world while the other souls kibbitz. Best of all is the endearing Andrew, a truly original protagonist.
"Review" by , "Because of the high quality of characterization in it and the unusual route the many souls of Andy Gage must take on his journey of self-discovery, this is an engaging piece of work."
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