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Set This House In Order: A Romance of Souls Hardcover – Jan 23 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; 1 edition (Jan. 23 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060195622
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060195625
  • Product Dimensions: 23.5 x 16.3 x 3.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 794 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,586,573 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Format: Paperback
Matt Ruff's book Fool on the Hill has gotten lots of indie acclaim, so much so that I was reluctant to read it at first. Needless to say I wouldn't be reviewing this book if the other hadn't made a very good impression on me. It was a wonderful book.
This is not that book. This book started off very good. As a matter of a fact, the review you may have read from the person that was halfway through was very close to what I would have written at that point.
But then the book had to end. And I just felt that the ending was much much weaker than the book was angling toward.
It's still a good read, but it's not anywhere near the brilliance of Fool on the Hill.
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Format: Paperback
"Set This House in Order" is truly one of the best-crafted novels I have read- a deftly, cleverly written story with captivating characters. It has an intriguing premise that is carried through to its full potential: Andrew Gage, a narrator and the main protagonist, is one personality belonging to a person with multiple personality disorder. Andrew has been chosen to be the responsible, regulating public persona for his body. Through Andrew, the different personalities inhabiting the body have input, but order is maintained, transforming what is usually considered a psychological disorder into a somewhat bizarre but rich and interesting way of life. When Andrew realizes that his co-worker Penny suffers from multiple personality disorder, he attempts to help her come to grips with her situation and find a better way of handling the many souls vying for dominance in her life. Amazingly, even though there are many characters residing in two bodies, each personality is so distinctive that the story is clear and free of confusion. The plot has a great mix of romance, adventure, and mystery, but it's the characters that make this a truly magnificent novel. The empathy of Ruff's writing imbues each personality with a unique and human soul. Though the idea of multiple personalities might sound difficult or disturbing, the story itself is full of gentleness and compassion. Like "Middlesex" or "The Curious Incident of the Dog at Nighttime," "Set This House is Order" is an amazingly well-written and empathetic novel.
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Format: Paperback
After his first two books - quirky and sharply written, deftly straddling the imaginary fence between fantasy and literary - Ruff made an interesting decision in choosing his subject matter for his third novel. Instead of taking the "easy" route and returning to a fantasy setting, he steps into the real world, choosing a difficult premise, and delivers his best story yet.
While his first two books showed off his ability to handle large casts of distinctive characters and their overlapping stories, he flips the script here by focusing on two characters, both of whom house large and distinctive casts IN THEIR HEADS.
Describing the plot doesn't do the book justice as, like any worthwhile journey, half the pleasure is in getting there, and this book is a rare pleasure, indeed. In the end, Andy Gage and Penny Driver will be two people whose lives stick with you long after you reluctantly put the book down.
Matt Ruff has done it again!
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Format: Paperback
This book is better than 99% of the books you could read. And for a mainstream novel, it's very well written.
But compared to his first two novels, which had strong elements of the fantastic, this is a disappointment. Sure, it's unusual to have main characters with MPD. And I feel that many of the major souls were more interesting than some of the minor characters who were "whole" people.
But "Fool on the Hill" and "Sewer, Gas and Electric" are novels which I will never be able to forget, even if I wanted to try. Besides being stunningly original and inventive in style and content, they have characters that are unforgettable. As I read them, I kept hoping that the novel would never end, that's how enjoyable they were.
And while "House" has well-written characters, I'm not sure I'll remember them for a long time. And it lacks the originality and inventiveness of "Fool" and "Sewer".
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Format: Hardcover
the basis of this book is all to familiar. Check out "When Rabbit Howls" a true life acount of a woman with several personalities if not several dozens. After reading "When Rabbit Howls" I read "Set This House in Order" and enjoyed it a lot more.
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Format: Hardcover
I've read hundreds of books over the years, but I don't think I've ever read anything quite like this before: a novel whose main character is the dominant soul (to use Matt Ruff's own terminology) of a person with Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD).
That soul is Andrew Gage - who, in the chronology of Ruff's novel, was "born" just two years ago. Andrew was created by the former dominant soul, Aaron, to take over that role because he (Aaron) was exhausted from dealing with all the other souls in the body and from building the "house" that they all (but one) now reside in. It would take more space than is available in this review to explain about the "house", but Ruff explains this rather interesting concept extremely well.
The story deals with Andrew's getting his "house" in order, so to speak; his interaction with a fellow, "immature" victim of MPD, Penny Driver; and his discovery of several things in his body's past that could potentially cause Andrew to lose his place as the dominant personality.
I was extremely impressed with Ruff's ability to establish each soul with its own distinct personality. He must have done quite a lot of research on the subject to be able to do this. And to do it with two people (Andrew & Penny) is nothing short of amazing.
Penny and her souls are somewhat weaker characters than Andrew and his, but considering Penny's state when Andrew first encounters her that's hardly surprising. Julie Sivik, the woman who brings Andrew and Penny together, seems to me to be a bit of a caricature - she definitely has her own psychological hangups (as does everyone in this book, to one degree or another) - but she is definitely essential to the story, as you'll see.
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