Set This House in Order: A Romance of Souls Hardcover – Feb 4 2003
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Ruff tells a surprisingly dense story that boils down to a journey of self-discovery. Andy Gage, created two years ago, is the public face of a multiple personality. There are hundreds of souls in his head, governed by his father as Andy lives in a house on a lakeshore. In the world outside, Andy works on ambitious, but unlikely, virtual reality projects. There, new programmer Penny Driver turns out to be a multiple personality, too, and the boss wants Andy to help her. Several of Penny's other souls ask for help, which Andy finally, reluctantly, agrees to give, thereby setting himself on a path that threatens the stability of his house. It seems Andy isn't as cured as he thought he was. There are still secrets in his hometown and in his mind, secrets that could destroy him. 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
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“...his matter-of-fact depiction of the relationships between different personalities is remarkable for its imaginative details.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“Set This House in Order brings extraordinary warmth to the chilliest of childhoods.” (O magazine)
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
Andy Gage is an average guy with multiple personality disorder who seems to have a grip on it. Rather than integrating all his "souls" into one Andrew, he and his psychiatrist have found it works best for him to have all the personalities present, but in order. His "father" grew tired of being in charge of Andrew's body, so another personality, Andrew, has appeared to try to give Andy Gage a normal life. The souls are all still there, but live in a house organized by the father in Andy's head. Andy lets each soul surface when needed or when something is going on that he feels one might especially enjoy. He might seem a little strange to the outside world, but he's not blacking out and having days and weeks disappear. And he's got a new job with a computer firm in his small town outside Seattle.
So everything's going well for Andy until his sympathetic boss hires a new programmer who also has MDP. Unlike Andrew's orderly house of souls, Penny's "society" is in complete chaos. Thrown for a loop, Andy's most destructive soul takes over and Penny and Andy are on the roadtrip from hell to take on the demons of Andy's past in his small Michigan home town.
The first two-thirds of "Set this House in Order" are wonderful. Hearing Andy describe how he gets ready in the morning (different souls take on the various elements of the morning toilette) is a kick. But the final third becomes so frenetic that the sympathy and affection set up in the beginning to the novel begins to unravel.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
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. Read morePublished on June 27 2004 by Benjamin N. Borden
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... Read morePublished on May 27 2004 by Guy L. Gonzalez
This book is better than 99% of the books you could read. And for a mainstream novel, it's very well written. Read morePublished on April 28 2004 by S. Robins
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. Read morePublished on Nov. 23 2003 by Sweets O'Malley
This was the best, most original book I've read all year. No one has ever written a book like this, and I was completely engrossed.Published on Sept. 19 2003 by monique madigan
Knowing (and admiring) Matt from his last two books, I was very much looking forward to read more "simply crazily entertaining stuff". Read morePublished on Sept. 1 2003 by Thomas Ehmer
I was introduced to Matt Ruff by a friend who insisted that everyone he knew read Fool On A Hill. I did, and discovered that I had read another book from the same man, called... Read morePublished on May 23 2003 by William D. Colburn
This is the first Matt Ruff book I have ever read. You can see from the five stars that I loved this book. It has a very complex and smart plot. Read morePublished on May 23 2003