Moving house has never flustered author Jane Christmas. She loves houses: viewing them, negotiating their price, dreaming up interior plans, hiring tradespeople to do the work and overseeing renovations. She loves houses so much that she’s moved thirty-two times.
There are good reasons for her latest house move, but after viewing sixty homes, Jane and her husband succumb to the emotional fatigue of an overheated English housing market and buy a wreck in the town of Bristol that is overpriced, will require more money to renovate than they have and that neither of them particularly like.
As Jane’s nightmare renovation begins, her mind returns to the Canadian homes where she grew up with parents who moved and renovated constantly around the Toronto area. Suddenly, the protective seal is blown off Jane’s memory of a strict and peripatetic childhood and its ancillary damage—lost friends, divorces, suicide attempts—and the past threatens to shake the foundations of her marriage. This latest renovation dredges a deeper current of memory, causing Jane to question whether in renovating a house she is in fact attempting to renovate her past.
With humour and irreverence, Open House reveals that what we think we gain by constantly moving house actually obscures the precious and vital parts of our lives that we leave behind.
This is a memoir that will appeal to anyone whose pulse quickens at the mere mention of real estate.
About the author
JANE CHRISTMAS is the author of several bestselling books, including What the Psychic told the Pilgrim, about her mid-life pilgrimage along Spain’s famed Camino trail; Incontinent on the Continent, about a six-week road trip through Italy with her elderly and opinionated mother in the hopes of finding a rapprochement in their relationship; as well as And Then There Were Nuns, which chronicles Jane’s discernment about entering religious life, and was a finalist for the 2014 Leacock Memorial Award for Humour. She has been published in Canada, the US, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Portugal and Germany. Born and raised in Canada, Jane Christmas is the mother of three wonderful adults and the ex-wife of two kind-hearted husbands. In 2012, she moved to the UK, where she lives in southwest England with her current husband.