House of Earth

Woody Guthrie

Newly discovered, and with an Introduction by Johnny Depp and Douglas Brinkley, legendary folk singer and American icon Woody Guthrie’s only finished novel: a prophetic and powerful portrait of two hardscrabble farmers struggling to survive the elements and other powerful forces of destruction during the Dust Bowl.

Filled with the homespun lyricism and authenticity that have made his songs legendary, this is the story of an ordinary couple’s dream of a better life and their search for love and meaning in a corrupt world. Tike and Ella May Hamlin struggle to plant roots in the arid land of Texas. Living in a precarious wooden shack, they yearn for a sturdy house that will protect them from the treacherous elements. Thanks to a government pamphlet, Tike has the know-how to build a simple adobe dwelling, a structure made from the land itself—fireproof, windproof, a house of earth. The land on which Tike and Ella May live and work on is not theirs, due to larger forces beyond their control—including ranching conglomerates and banks—and their adobe house remains painfully out of reach.

A story of rural realism and progressive activism, HOUSE OF EARTH is a searing portrait of hardship and hope set against a ravaged landscape. Combining the moral urgency and narrative drive of John Steinbeck with the erotic frankness of D.H. Lawrence, it is a powerful tale of America from one of our greatest artists.

Reviews of House of Earth

    • ‘So alive it is hard to realise that its author has been gone for 45 years … Stark, orginal, brutal in spots, lyrical in others, often very funny’ Suzanne Vega, The Times
    • ‘With Guthrie’s ear for language and eye for human passions, “House of Earth” is an engaging and poetic story about struggle that still rings true today. Its revival is welcome’ Joy Lo Dico, Independent on Sunday
    • ‘A heartfelt story about grinding poverty … written with a homespun authenticity, and a fine ear for dialect’ Martin Chilton, Daily Telegraph
    • ‘An eccentric hymn to the everythingness of everything, a sort of hillbilly “Finnegan’s Wake”’ Michel Faber, Guardian
    • ‘The publisher compares Woody Guthrie with John Steinbeck and D.H. Lawrence, but Woody is much funnier’ Spectator
    • ‘His lyrical style shows why he had such an influence on the likes of Bob Dylan’ Shortlist Magazine