Synopses & Reviews
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.
"Set This House in Order brings extraordinary warmth to the chilliest of
childhoods." O magazine
"The novel is also funny, wildly inventive, and emotionally astute...a shockingly likable suspense story." Gail Caldwell, Boston Globe
"[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)
"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
"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
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.