Build Your House Around My Body

Pages: 400
Subject: Fiction
Imprint: Oneworld

Build Your House Around My Body

Violet Kupersmith

Feverishly energetic and playfully creepy, an unforgettable debut that hurtles through the ghostly secrets of Vietnamese history
9780861540990 (8 Jul 2021)
RRP £16.99
Paperback(Out of stock)
9780861542147 (3 Mar 2022)
RRP £9.99

The Book

'Gorgeous, completely original, and quite disturbing, usually all three at the same time. Beware! This book might swallow you up.' Karen Joy Fowler, bestselling author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

A Kirkus selection: '8 Novels to Read This Summer'

Two young Vietnamese women go missing decades apart. Both are fearless, both are lost. And both will have their revenge.

1986: The teenage daughter of a wealthy Vietnamese family gets lost in an abandoned rubber plantation while fleeing her angry father, and is forever changed by the experience. 

2011: Twenty-five years later, a young, unhappy Vietnamese-American named Winnie disappears from her new home in Saigon without a trace.

The fates of both women are inescapably linked, bound together by past generations, by ghosts and ancestors, by the history of possessed bodies and possessed lands. Barrelling through the sweaty nightclubs of Saigon to ramshackle zoos, colonial mansions and haunted forests, Violet Kupersmith's heart-pounding fever dream of a novel deftly combines Vietnamese history and folklore to create an immersive, playful, utterly unforgettable debut. 

Additional Information

Subject Fiction
Pages 400
Imprint Oneworld


About the Author

Violet Kupersmith is the author of the short story collection The Frangipani Hotel. She previously taught English with the Fulbright programme in the Mekong Delta, and was a creative writing fellow at the University of East Anglia. She has lived in Da Lat and Saigon, and currently resides in the United States.


'What a joy to return to the numinously spooky world of [Violet] Kupersmith and find the ghosts of history and family still haunting her pages. This impressively constructed weave of stories is gorgeous, completely original, and quite disturbing, usually all three at the same time. Beware! This book might swallow you up.'

- Karen Joy Fowler, New York Times bestselling author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

'A book a bit like the creatures within. It has fangs and claws. It horrifies and charms. It is the sort of book you force on your friends, just so you can talk to them about it.'

- Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, author of Harmless Like You and Starling Days

'A wide-ranging first novel that peels back the layers of a haunted Vietnam... Drawing from genres as diverse as horror, humour and historical fiction, Kupersmith creates a rich and dazzling spectacle.'

- Kirkus (starred review)

'Creepy, exciting, moving, insanely funny: a sweat-soaked reading delight. Careering through a host of snaking lives, eras, and beautifully drawn locations in Vietnam, Build Your House Around My Body is mesmerising. An absolute triumph of storytelling.'

- Nick Bradley, author of The Cat and the City

'A heady, gothic spellbinder of a book.'

- Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble

'Violet Kupersmith has elevated the ghost story into an art form. Her intricately plotted, flamboyantly original novel is by turns steamy, grisly, comic, horrific, and touching. This literally haunting tale will stay with you long after the last page is turned.'

- Valerie Martin, author of Property and I Give it to You

'A brilliant, sweeping epic that swaps spirits and sheds time like snakeskin, Build Your House Around My Body is a marvel. Thrilling, witty, disturbing, righteous - I won't be able to shut up about how damned awesome this book is. Neither will you.' 

- Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts

'This lush, sultry phantasmagoria of a novel is as playful, hypnotic, and bone-chilling as a cobra rising to strike.'

- Elisabeth Thomas, author of Catherine House

'Kupersmith's exceptional debut novel (after the collection The Frangipani Hotel) offers profound and original insight on Vietnam's tortured history... Horrifying and hilarious by turns...marvelously written.' 

- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

'Kupersmith combines elements of horror, mystery, and historical and literary fiction to create a strange and wondrous story… [She] expertly ties characters together through plot and recurring talismans - snakes, a dog, a lottery ticket, a policeman's hat - and magically manages to create a story both epic and intensely intimate. Patient and observant readers will be richly rewarded.'

- Booklist (starred review)

'A haunting and unforgettable work.'

- Bust Magazine

'Kupersmith's assured a labyrinthine, shape-shifting novel, deep in magical realism territory. It is greatly to the author's credit that she makes this work and fully engages the reader's interest... Reminiscent of Günter Grass's The Tin Drum and Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children. It is a measure of Violet Kupersmith's achievement that Build Your House Around My Body can stand proudly in such exalted company.'

- New Internationalist