Lyrical, witty, moving and timely, To Fill a Yellow House is a story of community, friendship and the power of creativity and connection.
When Kwasi’s familymoves abruptly from one side of London to the other, Kwasi is both excited by the change—the new house is so big—and unsettled by his new school and the pressures placed upon him by his parents and many aunties. One place Kwasi finds refuge and inspiration is the Chest of Small Wonders, an eclectic and run-down charity shop on the high street.
Rupert has run the Chest for decades, but since his wife’s death several years before, he has struggled to keep their dreams for the shop alive. These days, fewer people shop second-hand, the Chest has become a depository for unwanted possessions, and Rupert is indulging more and more in herbal and perhaps-not-so-legal teas.
As Kwasi spends time in the Chest, an unexpected friendship develops between man and boy, a relationship that gives each a new sense of belonging. But the community and high street are changing, and when local politics threaten to engulf the Chest, both Kwasi and Rupert must decide who their allies are and where their futures lie.
To Fill a Yellow House is as vibrant and surprising as the city it is set in and marks the arrival of a bright and bold new talent.
Sussie Anie lives in London, where she was born and grew up. After graduating with a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of Warwick, she completed an MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, where she was a recipient of the 2018-19 Kowitz Scholarship. Her writing has been published in Lolwe, and shortlisted for the White Review Short Story Prize 2020.
“Anie’s touching debut delivers a heartfelt message about what can happen when strangers from different backgrounds connect.” — Washington Post
"Rings with such keen and resonant themes. . . . Touching . . . Kwasi’s voice is majestically narrated, folding in Anie’s authorial drive with his own syncopated artistic sensitivity . . . The characters are given a startlingly recognizable humanity. . . . Skillful narration. . . . It points a way to our untying ourselves from those with whom we share a history, to form more meaningful bonds with those of whom we share a future." — The Observer (London)
“A touching blend of coming-of-age and growing- older narratives.” — Library Journal
“[A] poignant debut. . . . It’s hard not to be moved.” — Publishers Weekly
“Anie weaves together the lives of culturally diverse characters to create a sublime story about friendship and the power of connection.” — Booklist
"Deeply affecting and sensitively told, with a main character you will fall in love with, break your heart over, and fervently root for all the way to the last page, To Fill a Yellow House is a transporting and beautiful story that will stay with me for a long time. Original and tender. ... An exquisite, absorbing and buoyant story of vulnerability and companionship, the redemptive power of friendship, and the spaces we choose to belong. Sussie Anie is a master storyteller and readers will be thinking about and missing Kwasi long after the last triumphant page!" — Buki Papillon, author of An Ordinary Wonder
"A gentle, thoughtful and moving meditation on London and what it means to belong. The characters have really stayed with me." — Sarah Butler, author of Ten Things I’ve Learnt About Love
"A thought-provoking and stunning debut. Kwasi will break your heart." — Karen Angelico, author of Everything We Are
"Stunning. . . . A lyrical meditation on city life, creativity and loss, and the hope that can spring from an unlikely friendship." — Polly Crosby, author of The Illustrated Child
"Gorgeous. . . . Textured, beautiful, all-engaging characters, a wonderfully realized setting, glorious prose – To Fill A Yellow House left me all warm with hope. What a debut." — Rajasree Variyar, author of The Daughters of Madurai
"To Fill A Yellow House explodes with creativity. A story about community, friendship and belonging beautifully told. Sussie Anie writes sensuous prose and creates a world that vibrates with life. You just want to step into it. A gorgeous debut." — Helen Paris, author of Lost and Found
"Widower Rupert is the owner of The Chest, a higgledy-piggledy London charity shop on hard times and Kwasi, a second-generation Ghanaian immigrant is a dreamer who doesn’t quite fit in. Their unlikely friendship is at the heart of this vividly drawn and evocative debut novel." — Red
"An evocative story of community and companionship." — i
"I read Sussie Anie’s novel slowly, savouring every delicate turn of language, every sentence which thrummed with emotion. Following Kwasi and Rupert through this novel was often heartbreaking but left me hopeful, too. Reading this was nothing short of a joy." — Caleb Azumah Nelson, author of Open Water