The Yellow House by Emily O’Grady

Notes: 1. First lines 2. Publisher: Allen and Unwin
I didn’t enjoy this book.
Not one likeable character.

Quotes from the book:

  • “Even before I knew anything about Granddad Les—the ugly things he did when he drove trucks up north and back again—Wally and me sometimes dared each other to see how close to the knackery we could get.”
  • “My body felt drained. I kept grasping for something special and good and it kept getting yanked from me. Every time I got close, something else got in the way. I felt tears but they were stuck behind my eyes, burning.”
  • “I knew something large and terrible had happened but I couldn’t quite feel it yet.”

Plot summary:

The family of Les, serial killer and now dead, live in a semi-rural community where everyone knows the family. The twins, Cub and Wally, deal with ostracism at school. Cassie, the teenager, pairs up with another troubled teenager. Their parents are powerless to deal with these issues. Everything seems hopeless. The children’s aunt and cousin (Helena and Tilly) come to live in Les’s old house nearby, and even more tragedy befalls this family.

The Yellow House by Emily O’Grady (Extract) by Allen & Unwin on Scribd


  • “O’Grady writes beautifully, with striking visual imagery and her ‘sins of the father’ theme is interesting to consider.” Full review: ANZ Litlovers
  • The Yellow House is an outstanding novel, haunting but with small glimpses of hope. O’Grady’s tale is an insightful reminder that one person’s unforgivable actions can result in many other silent victims suffering further under the weight of nothing more than unfortunate circumstance.” Full review: Writing NSW


  • Winner 2018 The Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award

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