Old Buildings in North Texas
Thirty-two year old Olivia is back with her mother and pregnant sister, working for an eccentric family friend.
But something stirs beneath the quirky small-town surface. Olivia is a recovering cocaine addict. Her therapist is a girl she went to high school with; her promising career in journalism has dwindled to nothing and life is back on an even-keel … Then, under pressure to take up a hobby, she decides to try urban exploration. Soon she's poking through derelict homes, churches and schools across North Texas.
Jen Waldo's style modulates effortlessly from domestic nuance to taut adventure to social and moral transgression, consistently vivid and inflected with humour. This is a book about a modern woman's dilemma as she searches for personal equilibrium and wild adventure, trying to find stability in her existence without losing sight of what makes life worth living.
‘A lot of Jen Waldo’s debut novel takes place out on the porch of Olivia’s mother’s house. […] With its casual, confidential tone, Old Buildings in North Texas puts the reader in one of those porch chairs, reclining on a warm evening with a cool drink.’ The Skinny
‘Old Buildings in North Texas is an amusingly written and well worked book – with many an interesting sideline. […] It also has its serious side. Jen Waldo says that the Olivia character is based on a recovering addict friend of hers. The times at which Olivia wishes she could resume her relationship with candycaine, gutter glitter, wacky dust, rail, Blanca, and Mr Snow are frighteningly real and a tad scary…’ Trip Fiction
‘[T]his novel is an absolute blast. There are serious moments of course, but Jen Waldo looks for the comedy in everything to create a memorable scenario that reminded me very much of the style of Six Feet Under. […] Olivia’s directness and understated comedy, together with the author’s unwordy style make for a delightful and chortlesome read.’ Shiny New Books
‘… one of the most creative, unique, and captivating books I have read in some time.’ Hall Ways Review