The first episodes of “Up at the House” were written in Lisbon last November, almost all of them in the beautiful Le Chat bar which glares down upon the Tagus estuary. The remainder were written this month, in rainy Edinburgh. At 28,000 words, “Up at the House” is longer than any previous short-story cycle on Tychy, and the ambition of its construction doubtlessly reflects my exuberance at being liberated again after the abrupt ending to the independence referendum. Pessimistic about the indyref outcome, I had assumed that I was likely to spend the rest of the decade reading about negotiations to re-enter the European Union.
“Up at the House” is a short-story cycle: the stories are too interconnected to stand alone, but too disconnected in total to function smoothly as a novella. As with this spring’s “A Tale From The Borneo Rainforest,” I hope that the individual episodes are readable enough to give satisfaction by themselves. Considering the current of suspense which begins to race during the later episodes, I would like to publish “Up at the House” all in one go, throughout July. But it might have to be postponed before the Fringe, on a suitable cliff-hanger. There will be no further fiction on Tychy until all of this lavish course has been served.
Some of the characters are new; others, such as Zbigniew Tycienski, Tori and Pat Blackwood, and Ted Worthington have appeared before in Tychy fiction. The setting, Joppa Grange, has featured in earlier stories such as “Rolling on with the Bull” and “Hideaway.” The house seems to have changed hands in these stories, and so “Up at the House” is presumably set in an earlier time, most probably during the middle of the last decade.
And so without any further ado…