Synopses & Reviews
"I suppose I should tell you about the house.... The house, along with the lake, the forest, and Coventry, are all in Andy Gage's head, or what would have been Andy Gage's head if he had lived. Andy Gage was horn 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. . . . "
From the author of the cult classic Fool on the Hill comes a strange and moving story of self-discovery. Andy Gage was "born" just two years ago, called into being to serve as the public face of a multiple personality. 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 co-existence: Aaron, the father figure, who makes the rules; Adam, the mischievous teenager, who breaks them; Jake, the frightened little boy; Aunt Sam, the artist; Seferis, the defender; and Gideon, the dark soul, who wants to get rid of Andy and the others and run things on his own.
Andrew'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....
"[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)
"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
Andrew Gage, 28, is trying to live a normal, stable life as a multiple personality. One day Andrew meets Penny Driver, who is also multiple, but doesn't know it yet. When a couple of Penny's other personalities try to enlist Andrew's aid, they set in motion a chain of events that threatens to bring Andrew's "house" crashing down.
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 Hill and Sewer, Gas &Electric: The Public Works Trilogy. He lives in Seattle, Washington, in what is arguably the most beautiful apartment house in the city.