My House Is Falling Down by Mary Loudon
Vivid, compelling and erotically highly charged, My House is Falling Down is the gripping story of a woman stretching love to its limits.
For Lucy, marriage to Mark provided an anchor after several years
of drifting casually across countries, into jobs and out of relationships.
Now forty-two, her anchor is working loose. Bewildered by the demands of motherhood and dissatisfied by her work, she has also grown understandably resentful of her husband: Mark has serious difficulties of his own and whilst harsh self-reliance has kept him sane, it has alienated his wife.
When Lucy falls in love with Angus, a pianist in his sixties, her shock is extreme. Adamant that she will not deceive her husband, she instead asks his advice. Mark’s reaction, however, is startlingly unorthodox, leaving Lucy to steer an impossible course between duty and desire, adventure and security. As her marriage falters and Angus presses for commitment, she is forced to choose between family and self, with lifelong consequences for everyone.
Infused with her trademark precision, clarity and dark humour, Mary Loudon’s searing, highly-charged novel My House is Falling Down is a fearless exploration of what infidelity means when no one is lying, and how brutal honesty may yet prove the biggest taboo in our relationships.
“A truthful, exciting, agonising adult love triangle. An emotional labyrinth, with monsters, great risks - and survival.”
- Laline Paull, author of The Bees
“A novel of great tenderness and intelligence… A grown up love tangle with interesting, grown up men and women.”
- Andrew Miller, author of Pure
“What a lucid, subtle and beautiful writer she is, with a gift for slicing through to the complexities of a relationship or a situation. Reading anything by Mary Loudon is to peer through the bell jar to the truths captured inside it.”
- Elizabeth Buchan, author of The Good Wife
“Nothing I say could match the emotional lure and its sustaining that is here. First person love - real, lived - a tense, irresistible read.”
– Jon Snow, Channel 4 News anchor
Other published works
by Mary Loudon
Relative Stranger - A Sister’s Life After Death
Relative Stranger is the searing story of Mary Loudon's search for her dead sister, whom she had not seen for the last twelve years of her life. It examines our assumptions about familial responsibility, challenging everything we believe about what it means to love, to lose, to die and, above all, to belong.
“Outstanding …. Vivid, true and moving.”
“Mary Loudon writes with great flair, clarity, imaginative intensity, and extraordinary confidence and style. Honest and unvarnished and without mawkishness of any kind; convincing, gripping and moving.”
“Remarkable, affecting and a comfort, too. Mary Loudon sees through the dark of insanity to the light of understanding.”
“Relative Stranger is not “just” about mental sickness, but about family relationships, expectations, and the different ways we all find to survive the perilous journey of life.”
“She is remarkable for being so personal and so wrenchingly honest without self-indulgence.”
James Naughtie, BBC Radio 4
“Loudon’s work results in a shift in one’s perspective that few writers achieve… I will never look at other people in the same way again, nor, I suspect, will any other reader.”
“One of the most moving and compelling memoirs of the year.”
“Profound, poignant and beautifully written, it reads as compellingly as a thriller.”
Marjorie Wallace, Chief Executive of SANE
“Standing head and shoulders above the rest of the memoir genre is Mary Loudon’s honest, unsentimental, exquisitely written book about her schizophrenic sister.”
Secrets & Lives - Middle England Revealed
A collection of 46 utterly compelling true stories from a typical English market town, each in the subjects' own words, which together form a portrait of provincial England as has never been painted before.
“'A Canterbury Tales for our times ... Everyone has something of value to impart, even the humblest; in some, there is a shining nobility… Loudon, who has the gift of being able to listen and empathise, has produced a book that should be required reading for our political leaders.”
“Mary Loudon’s deceptively quiet approach peels away the layers to show that there is no such thing as an ordinary life.”
“Mary Loudon reveals the intimacies and indiscretions of life in a way seldom, if ever, associated with the sedately average English heart.”
“Loudon’s sharp, poignant, tragic or comic short stories offer a powerful sense of the sheer wonder and private eccentricity of human life. Some are remarkably intense, with Dostoyevskian power."
“Secrets and Lives gives you a strength I can’t really explain. It’s about the completely hidden heroism, guts and bravery of so many people, and through it we are reminded that everyone is vulnerable and that they all have different ways of dealing with it.”
“Mary Loudon is the Scheherazade of Wantage: she has made its inhabitants as romantic and as interesting as the characters of the Thousand and One Nights… She gives us 46 ordinary, extraordinary lives; 46 highly polished jewels of restrained passion; 46 tightly plotted short stories; 46 moments of consciousness.
What Loudon achieves is to grant her subjects their own epiphany in writing.”
Revelations: The Clergy Questioned
Twelve Church of England clergy – from curates to Archbishops - tell their personal stories, simultaneously revealing truths and doubts about themselves, each other, and the complex world of the Anglican church within which they operate.
“Mary Loudon has done it again. Her first book was a tribute to her skill at getting people who seldom talk about themselves to reveal their inner lives. This second book is equally enthralling... She’s so good at the job I think she might even be able to make us feel that accountants are fascinating.”
Independent on Sunday
“What emerges from these stories is how many messy unresolvable conflicts form part of being human. Read this quietly and listen to the voices, by turns hilarious, angry, sorrow-filled and tranquil, which ring so authentically and personally through Loudon’s beautifully crafted [and] enthralling book.”
“Absorbing, intimate, well-crafted and interesting.”
“Loudon is a skilled interviewer, who, by building a relationship of trust and respect, enables her subjects to speak about their personal struggle for ultimate meaning with a compelling and frequently moving frankness.”
“She is an undoubtedly skilled questioner and the answers she elicits will come as a revelation. Almost any controversy you can care to think of is reflected in this book.”
Unveiled: Nuns Talking
Nuns from extraordinarily different backgrounds and orders speak openly about themselves and their choices in these intensely moving, frank and uninhibited life stories.
“Unveiled will shatter the common assumption that nuns are frustrated inadequate human beings.”
“Mary Loudon’s unobtrusive tact and rare capacity for empathy have made it possible for her subjects to reveal themselves fearlessly.”
Independent on Sunday
“Her gentle but expert manner is rewarded by the almost total disinhibition of her interlocutors. [She] achieves the almost impossible balance of disclosure without betrayal.”
“I thought I could skim quickly through this book. Several weeks later, I have laughed and cried, been irritated and driven to anger but above all, I have been astonished at the strong emotions and intellectual strengths revealed… Certain chapters pack an emotional punch which is quite as striking as some psychological novels.”
Home and Family
“Mary Loudon’s book is a blast of fresh air lifting the veil on one of the most mysterious and threatening religious phenomena. It addresses the big issues facing women in religion - and therefore religion as a whole - with intelligence and integrity.”
“The public image of nuns is saintly, saccharine or smutty ... The truth is far less patronising, far more daunting. What they are is brave; what they display is integrity.”
“Absorbing autobiographies, inspiring and down-to-earth perspectives on religious life.”
Michele Roberts, Observer Books of The Year