House of Earth

Woody Guthrie

Newly discovered, and with an introduction by Johnny Depp, this is legendary American folk singer Woody Guthrie’s only finished novel: a compelling portrait of two hardscrabble farmers struggling during the Dust Bowl.

Filled with the homespun lyricism that made Guthrie’s songs unforgettable, this is the story of an ordinary couple’s dream of a better life in a corrupt world. Living in a precarious wooden shack, Texan farmers Tike and Ella May yearn for a sturdy house to protect them from the treacherous elements. Thanks to a government pamphlet, Tike knows how to build a simple adobe dwelling from the land itself— a house of earth. But while the land on which Tike and Ella May live and work is not theirs, their dream remains painfully out of reach.

A rural tale of 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 a great artist.

Reviews of House of Earth

    • Praise for ‘House of Earth’:
    • ‘House of Earth is so alive it is hard to realise that its author has been gone for 45 years …The prose is beautiful and not lascivious. You feel that he had read his James Joyce, but the tone and quality of the writing is pure Woody Guthrie. Stark, original, brutal in spots, lyrical in others, often very funny.Could it be considered pornographic? Well, it’s more original and written better than 50 Shades of Grey!’ Suzanne Vega, The Times
    • ‘Such prose was clearly unpublishable in its time, and is still unusually explicit today … At its best, the book is an eccentric hymn to the everythingness of everything, a sort of hillbilly Finnegans Wake … it offers intimate, often startling access to the peculiar intellect and capacious soul of a 20th-century icon.’ Michel Faber, Guardian
    • ‘A heartfelt story about grinding poverty …This novel, more than a curiosity, is both welcome and timely.’ Martin Chilton, Daily Telegraph
    • ‘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
    • ‘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