Keeping the House by Tice Cin

Tice Cin's debut novel is a refreshing and unique look at London life through the eyes of its Turkish Cypriot community

Book Review by Kerri Logan | 07 Sep 2021
  • Keeping the House by Tice Cin
Book title: Keeping the House
Author: Tice Cin

Keeping the House is a refreshingly unique and vivid debut by Tice Cin. Set over three generations, it follows an interconnected group of Turkish Cypriot immigrants as they navigate life in north London. It’s the story of those who will keep their families afloat by any means necessary, in this case, by dealing heroin concealed in cabbage leaves.

Told in a series of bite-sized chapters, the novel expertly interweaves questions about family, community, trauma and belonging into episodes that are often humorous, sometimes heart-breaking but always poetic. Although it encompasses the lives of a dozen or so protagonists, this is arguably a story about three strong women (Makbule, Ayla and Damla), the love they have for their family and community, and the lengths they will go to in order to ensure each generation that follows is provided for.

The inclusion of Turkish Cypriot expressions and segments of fragmented poetry add to the individuality of Keeping the House and, although at times slightly scattered, Tice Cin manages to offer the reader a totally new and exciting narrative style that feels fresh, confident and powerful. It captures the buzz of London life and lifts the lid on the vibrant culture of the Turkish Cypriot community, giving a behind-closed-doors look at the women who quietly, instinctively keep the wheel of family life turning. 

And Other Stories, 7 Sep, £11.99