Mary Loudon

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

Reviews

for My House Is Falling Down

‘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

‘A truthful, exciting, agonising adult love triangle. An emotional labyrinth, with monsters, great risks – and survival’ 
Laline Paull, author of The Bees

‘What a superb piece of writing. Mary Loudon’s great skill is to make you care about people you don’t necessarily like, and to leave you worrying about them long after you’ve finished the book’ 
Eleanor Updale, author of Montmorency

Anna Karenina for the twenty-first century. My understanding of human nature was definitely deepened’ Andrew G. Marshall, author of I Love You But I’m Not in Love with You

‘An intricate, sophisticated portrait of infidelity and trust in a long-term relationship. This novel features a fresh perspective on a modern love triangle that is at once provocative and tender’ bookriot.com

‘What a lucid, subtle and beautiful writer she is, with a gift for slicing through to the complexities of a relationship or a situation’
Elizabeth Buchan, author of The Museum of Broken Promises

‘A sophisticated novel that forensically examines how love and infidelity can coexist in a long-term relationship – I devoured it!’ 
Penny Hancock, author of Tideline

‘This is so well-written! I was enthralled by this novel, a truly modern morality tale with so many apposite and pertinent observations’ Valerie Grove, author of The Life and Loves of Laurie Lee

My House is Falling Down shows sharp insight and elegance of phrase . . . honesty characterises this totally absorbing book. A difficult theme is handled with great realism and without a trace of sentimentality or mawkishness’
Richard Harries, Church Times

‘Taking the scalpel to her subject of a woman’s infidelity and her attempts to compromise, Loudon is both candid and surprising’ 
Daily Mail

‘Wow. I found it intense and haunting and the writing is exquisite. It’s not easy to get a fresh angle on infidelity but Mary Loudon did – not just with the originality of her narrative, but the whole discussion that arises from it. Really great!’
Stephanie Calman, author of Confessions of a Bad Mother

‘A novel of great tenderness and intelligence… A grown-up love tangle with interesting, grown-up men and women’ Andrew Miller, author of Pure

‘Just finished reading Mary Loudon’s My House Is Falling Down which is engrossing, troubling. A novel you look up from several hours later, bewildered to re-enter your life’ Julia Hobsbawm

‘Hurrah to this book that’s rescued me from a book slump. This had my attention from the off. Intelligent, truthful and complex. 5 out of 5 stars’ Sarah Turner, WHSmith

‘A beautifully written book exploring an honest and open love triangle in episodic, forensic detail. Sensual and thoughtful, I didn’t want the magic to end’
Fiona Erskine, author of The Chemical Detective

‘I loved My House Is Falling Down. A brilliant novel about a marriage in crisis, where an affair happens – but with the husband’s acceptance. Lucy, Mark and Angus are flawed and at times unlikeable. That’s what makes this story of a marriage unique – and why I enjoyed it. It’s by no means a happy ever after tale’ yearsofreadingselfishly.blog

‘A thought-provoking read for anyone who’s ever questioned social conventions our lives are expected to fit and so often don’t. The novel confounded my expectations… It shows depth and maturity and is beautifully written – I can imagine this novel sparking some very interesting discussions, and not just in book groups!’ Isabel Costello, www.literarysofa.com

WHAT READERS ARE SAYING ABOUT THIS BOOK

‘Mary Loudon describes feelings you didn’t know you had. It’s so compelling I missed my station, reading it on the train!’ Anna G

‘I fell in love with this book. Slowly, inexorably, until I was hooked and I didn’t want it to end’  Fiona

I read this book three times in quick succession . . . it had me holding my breath’ Lucy B

‘It made me imagine how easy it could be to go against all my principles and unexpectedly fall in love with two men. It actually got my heart racing in a couple of sections… it’s seductive but also funny and very poignant’ Vintage bintage

‘What a brave and brilliant book this is, full of passion and pain and wisdom. The profundity of intimacy, the stupefaction of grief, the descent into despair, the wisdom of non-recrimination, so much else. A must read’ Philip H

‘This was our book group read and boy did we spend some time discussing it! This is the beauty of this book, there is so much to think about . . . I highly recommend this for any book group’ – Amazon customer

The most amazing book I have ever read. So well written I want to re-read it immediately’ Kate R 

Other published works

by Mary Loudon

Relative Stranger - A Sister’s Life After Death

by Mary Loudon Canongate 

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.”
Times

“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.”
Jonathan Dimbleby

“Remarkable, affecting and a comfort, too. Mary Loudon sees through the dark of insanity to the light of understanding.”
Fay Weldon

“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.”
Daily Mail

“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.”
The Tablet

“One of the most moving and compelling memoirs of the year.”
The Scotsman

“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.”
Eve magazine

Secrets & Lives - Middle England Revealed

by Mary Loudon Pan Macmillan

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.”
Times

“Mary Loudon’s deceptively quiet approach peels away the layers to show that there is no such thing as an ordinary life.”
Joanna Trollope

“Mary Loudon reveals the intimacies and indiscretions of life in a way seldom, if ever, associated with the sedately average English heart.”
Evening Standard

“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.”
Sunday Times

“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.”
Spectator

“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.”
Observer

Revelations: The Clergy Questioned

by Mary Loudon Hamish Hamilton / Penguin

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. 

“Absolutely fascinating.”
Times

“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.”
Daily Telegraph

“Absorbing, intimate, well-crafted and interesting.”
New Statesman

“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.”
Sunday Times

“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.”
Catholic Herald

“Engrossing reading.”
Literary review

Unveiled: Nuns Talking

by Mary Loudon Chatto & Windus / Vintage

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.”
New Statesman

“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.”
Daily Telegraph

“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.”
Sydney Sun-Herald

“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.”
Independent

“Absorbing autobiographies, inspiring and down-to-earth perspectives on religious life.”
Michele Roberts, Observer Books of The Year