In this remarkable novel, Tod Wodicka, author of All Shall Be Well; and All Shall Be Well; and All Manner of Things Shall Be Well, has crafted a luminous story of a most curious friendship.
There’s something wrong next door. At least that’s what neighbors Howie Jeffries and Emily Phane both think. Since his daughter and wife moved out, Howie has been alone, an accidental recluse content with his fishing and his dreams of someday sailing away from himself on a boat. Emily couldn’t be more different: she’s irreverent, outgoing, and seemingly well adjusted. But when she returns from college to care for her dying grandfather, Howie can’t help but notice her increasingly erratic behavior—not to mention her newfound love of nocturnal gardening.
The thing is, although they’ve lived side by side in the only two houses on Route 29 in rural upstate New York since Emily was born, Howie and Emily have never so much as spoken to each other. Both have their reasons: Howie is debilitatingly shy, and Emily has been hiding the fact that she suffers from a nighttime affliction that makes her terrified to go to sleep and makes her question the very reality of her waking life. It is only when tragedy strikes that their worlds finally intersect in ways neither of them could have ever imagined.
A poignant, big-hearted, and often humorous novel about two unique individuals unceremoniously thrown together, The Household Spirit is a story about how little we know the people we see every day—and the unexpected capabilities of the human heart.