RaveThe Guardian (UK)While People Person contains several madcap plot turns and implausible red herrings, it is anchored in emotional realism and a hopeful warmth...The novel is highly empathic towards its characters’ struggles to accept the indelible failings and traumatic legacies of their childhood and regain agency over who they are and how they want to be...Ultimately, this is a delightful, uplifting and emotionally satisfying novel about building new connections in the face of deep-rooted abandonment wounds and hideous disappointment...The Pennington siblings may never get the paternal love and approval they so crave – but they have each other, and that’s more than enough.
PositiveThe Guardian (UK)... marvellous and confounding ... Interwoven with Winnie’s story are spooky vignettes taking place in the days and decades before and after her vanishing. In some of the novel’s most thrilling and original sections, we follow ghost hunters from the Saigon Spirit Eradication Co in 2011, encounter a Vietnamese French schoolboy left on a mountain as the Japanese launch their coup in 1945, and meet a trio of childhood friends in the early 90s—the bland brothers Tan and Long, who pine for the headstrong and rather caricaturish Binh. The reader gradually gleans connections between the stories in ingenious or sometimes convoluted ways ... with its seam of delightfully lurid feminist body horror, Build Your House Around My Body more closely recalls the fabulist work of Kelly Link, Intan Paramaditha and Mariana Enríquez ... At their strongest, the novel’s descriptive powers and sense of place are vivid and intoxicating ... at other moments the descriptions are overegged or too technical. Framing the disparate strands around Winnie’s disappearance can jolt the reader out of more engaging plotlines, most notably that of the ghost hunters.