Galley Club: Bitter Orange


Tin House invited a few early readers into the shoddy mansion where we store our galleys (maybe not the best idea, we know) for a look through a peephole at Claire Fuller’s latest, Bitter OrangeIt’s a best book of the month at Entertainment Weekly and TIME, where they’re calling it “unsettling and eerie… an ideal October chiller.”

It’s 1969, and sheltered Frances Jellico takes a job researching the architecture of Lyntons, a dilapidated mansion in the English countryside. But she’s distracted: under a floorboard in her new bathroom, she finds a peephole into her neighbors’ private lives. She’s entranced. But as the summer burns on, the cracks in Cara and Peter’s glamorous exteriors—and even in Frances’ own—start to show, and a crime unfolds that will brand their lives forever.  

Want to know more? Take a peek under the floorboard at our early readers’ thoughts below.

Do you have a favorite line from Bitter Orange?

  • “If food is worth eating, it’s worth eating properly.”
  • “I knew there were rules I was supposed to live by, but it was intellectual knowledge, a checklist to be ticked off against each new action, not inherent as it appeared to be for everyone else.”
  • “He must think that I am much changed, transformed from the person I once was: shy and awkward, large and plain. Now I am a woman of bone and skin, the patches of pigmentation like a map of a rocky archipelago; I am obdurate and uncooperative, drifting on a sea of memory between islands of lucidity.”
  • “The water was black and the shapes of our bodies tangled with the shadows made by the weeds and the bulrushes which crowded in from the bank like slender spectators.”
  • “There was no wind that afternoon, the lake was a new penny lost in an unmown lawn, and the unseen birds that chirped and twittered in the bushes didn’t disturb a twig.”
  • “Beautiful on the surface, but look a little closer and everything is decaying, rotting, falling apart.”
  • “I learned from the wig men that the law is not about finding the truth, it is about who can tell the most convincing story.”
  • “I had thought I would like living life to the maximum, I had thought I would enjoy being unconstrained and reckless, but I learned that it is terrifying to look into the abyss.”
  • “We were all standing on the edge that day, at the very rim of the precipice, staring into the void. Something inside us wanted to see what it would be like to jump, just to find out what would happen, an actual physical lurch that seemed so possible, except we all knew that once we had jumped there would be no way back.”

If you liked Bitter Orange, you’ll also like ____.

  • Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller
  • Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
  • The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
  • A Rose for Emily William Faulkner
  • Indian Summer by Marcia Willett
  • The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
  • Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
  • Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
  • An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
  • The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena
  • Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler
  • Pull Me Under by Kelly Luce
  • The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware
  • The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
  • The Secret History by Donna Tartt
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
  • Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
  • Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn
  • So Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell
  • The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin
  • Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Thanks to our wonderful Galley Club members for sinking into the Bitter Orange summer with us. Interested in being part of Galley Club? We’ll announce the next title—and instructions for how to join—on social media in November.

Infographics by Jakob Vala.