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Build Your House Around My Body


Violet Kupersmith


‘Fantastic’ The Sunday Times 

‘Marvellous… Hugely impressive’ Guardian

‘Beautiful, brilliant, powerful’ Madeline Miller, bestselling author of Circe

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 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. Violet Kupersmith’s heart-pounding fever dream of a novel hurtles through the ghostly secrets of Vietnamese history to create an immersive, playful, utterly unforgettable debut.

‘Fiction as daring and accomplished as Violet Kupersmith’s first novel reignites my love of the form and its kaleidoscopic possibilities’ David Mitchell, author of Cloud Atlas 

  • Publication date: March 3, 2022
  • ISBN: 9780861542147
  • RRP: £8.99
  • Pages: 400
  • Publication date: July 8, 2021
  • ISBN: 9780861540990
  • RRP: £16.99
  • Pages: 400
  • Publication date: July 8, 2021
  • ISBN: 9780861541003
  • RRP: £4.99
  • Pages: 400


'A fantastic debut... A wonderfully ambitious novel about death, snakes and female revenge...recounted with a rich, hypnotic lyricism.'

The Sunday Times

'Loved this epic book – beautiful, brilliant, powerful, and shivery-back-of-the-neck terrifying.'

Madeline Miller, author of Circe

'A marvellous, confounding debut that moves from eerie Vietnamese forests to rundown zoos and crowded nightclubs… Kupersmith has been compared to David Mitchell for her novel's time-hopping characters and sweeping ambition. However, with its seam of delightfully lurid feminist body horror, the novel more closely recalls the fabulist world of Kelly Link, Intan Paramaditha and Mariana Enríquez… A hugely impressive debut.'


'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

'Violet Kupersmith’s Build Your House Around My Body weaves together Vietnamese folklore and ghosts into a visceral and brilliant read.'


'Fiction as daring and accomplished as Violet Kupersmith's first novel reignites my love of the form and its kaleidoscopic possibilities.' 

David Mitchell, author of Cloud Atlas

'Dazzling... I had the sense that Violet Kupersmith’s eerie and electric debut novel was spreading beyond the bounds of the page and seeping into my life. That is this novel’s power: It followed me into my days, refusing to release me... A thrilling read, acrobatic and filled with verve... Kupersmith is a brilliant technician of the small moment, the just-right observation. Her sensory language is at once bold and perfectly precise.'

New York Times

 'I am loving Build Your House Around My Body… it's really difficult to believe this is a debut novel.'

Jen Campbell, author of The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night

'Build Your House Around My Body is such an innovative, brilliant, haunting and compelling read.'

Nguyen Phan Que Mai, author of The Mountains Sing

'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

'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

'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

Violet Kupersmith

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 is currently based in the United States. Her first novel, Build Your House Around My Body, was a Finalist for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize in 2021.

Author page

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