Tice Cin

Keeping the House

Shortlisted for the 2022 Jhalak Prize

Shortlisted for the 2022 Desmond Elliott Prize

Shortlisted for the 2022 British Book Awards, Book of the Year – Discover Award

Longlisted for the 2022 Gordon Burn Prize

Longlisted for the 2022 Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize

Winner of a 2022 Somerset Maugham Award

Cabbages . . . The Turkish variety are prized for their enlarged leaf bud, that’s where we put the heroin . . .

There’s a stash of heroin waiting to be imported, and no one seems sure what to do with it . . . But Ayla’s a gardener, and she has a plan.

Offering a fresh and funny take on the machinery of the North London heroin trade, Keeping the House lifts the lid on a covert world thriving just beneath notice: not only in McDonald’s queues and men’s clubs, but in spotless living rooms and whispering kitchens. Spanning three generations, this is the story of the women who keep their family – and their family business – afloat, juggling everything from police surveillance to trickier questions of community, belonging and love.

Read an Excerpt
EBook: £6.99

More Info

  • To find out more about the extraordinary process behind the discovery and publication of a debut novel, listen to the Waterstones podcast on Keeping the House, featuring contributions from Tice Cin, her agent Donald Winchester, editor and champion Max Porter, and the And Other Stories team.
  • Read an interview with Tice Cin and Max Porter for the Foyles blog.
  • If you subscribed to And Other Stories by Sunday 4th April 2021, you would have received your limited edition copy of Keeping the House – in which all subscribers are thanked by name – in June 2021, before its official publication, as well as up to five other specially selected And Other Stories titles per year. Find out more about our subscriptions.
  • You can find the audiobook of Keeping the House, narrated by Tice Cin and Serena Manteghi, on your preferred audiobook platform.
  • Read Huck Magazine‘s profile of Tice Cin here.
  • Keeping the House was chosen by Courttia Newland as one of The Guardian‘s best books of 2021. You can read the full list here.


Print status: Available
Author: Tice Cin
Original language: English
Format: B-format paperback
Publication date: 7 September 2021
ISBN: 9781913505080
Ebook ISBN: 9781913505097
Availability: World English
Number of pages: 256


Courttia Newland
Guardian Best Books of 2021

‘Keeping the House is a truly beautiful debut. A mistress of deftly sketched characters that become whole humans in a few lines, Cin tells stories of working-class, inner-city life steeped in truth, emotion and vulnerability. She is one of a new generation of writers who see the splendour of these streets and articulate it with great majesty.’

Caleb Femi

‘A beautifully stunning book revealing a realm of London most wouldn’t know. Through my read I wavered between palpable nostalgia and questions about the future of the community that conceived this story. Beyond its fresh approach to craftsmanship, it’s the enormous heart of the story that stays with you long after you’ve finished reading it. I’ll be rereading this book for years to come. There is no other way to put it; Cin is an important writer of our generation.’

Laura Waddell
The Scotsman Book of the Week

‘Tice Cin is a fine stylist . . . Keeping the House breaks free from drug-novel stereotypes to paint a fresh, fun and vivid picture of drug-dealing in today's Tottenham.’

Michael Donkor
The Guardian

‘Crackling with energy . . . An exhilaratingly idiosyncratic first novel, Keeping the House has “cult classic” written all over it.’  

Fanny Blake
Daily Mail

‘An enthralling read.’  

Michael Magras,
Washington Post

‘Cin has a gift for evocative writing.’  

Alastair Mabott
Herald Scotland

‘An exciting new talent debuts with Keeping the House. This mercurial novel . . . has a raw energy and inconsistency . . . Cin makes a virtue of its unevenness, reflecting the patchwork, organic nature of a dynamic community.’    

Lisa McInerney
Stinging Fly

‘This is a novel unapologetically specific to its depicted community, and, well, if you’re not going to let the author lead you, why do you read at all?’    

Kerri Logan
The Skinny

‘[Keeping the House] expertly interweaves questions about family, community, trauma and belonging into episodes that are often humorous, sometimes heart-breaking but always poetic.’  

John-Paul Davies
Buzz Magazine

‘In her debut novel, Tice Cin weaves an extraordinary plot from the everyday lives in a community of Turkish Cypriots . . . Cin is capable of that gift that great storytellers have of bringing you into a world you may never inhabit, or even encounter, and make you feel that you are on first name terms with its whole population.’

Stewart Home
3:AM Magazine

‘Rich and complex . . . There is treachery in Cin’s Tottenham but solidarity too.’    

Lisa McInerney

‘Keeping the House is such a bold and yet poignant read: musical, nimble, affectionate and (thank GOD) rule-breaking.’

Salena Godden

‘Written with immediacy and poignancy, this is a powerful debut from an exciting and compelling new voice, I loved it.’

Derek Owusu

‘Tice Cin has arrived. With a style all her own and a confidence that radiates off each page, poetry that renders settings and characters incredibly vivid. No impression will escape you.’  

Caleb Azumah Nelson, author of Open Water

‘Keeping The House drew me in from the first few lines. A glorious novel which thrums with feeling, illustrating the London community with a sharp and confident eye. Her characters are full and sure, and traverse their world with humour, boldness and love. Hope fills these pages.’

Irenosen Okojie, author of Nudibranch

‘A brilliantly enthralling read. Tice Cin's potent crime caper marks the arrival of an intoxicating new voice.’

Yara Rodrigues Fowler

‘A beautiful novel – forgiving, meandering and sexy. Tice Cin makes prose ooze and breathe and cook. Her multilingual Tottenham Turkish-Cypriot characters are real people to me now. I love Damla, Cemile and Ayla very much.’

Roger Robinson

‘Tice Cin is an enthralling voice.’

Michelle Tiwo

'There’s always been a poetic, dream-like wonder to Tice’s writing. No detail goes unnoticed, unexamined. You see all the tiniest details through her eyes and her words - it’s a beautiful gift.'

Will Ashon

‘An intoxicating rush of language – and languages – funny, grimy (in all senses), and driven by a fierce energy, Keeping The House holds a deep sadness at its core, but never allows it to overwhelm us, instead finding beauty in balance.’

Matthew Sperling

‘Keeping the House is a thrilling debut by a bold new talent: sparkling, polyphonic, and bristling with linguistic energy. Tice Cin has somehow fused experimental writing, crime fiction and the family saga together, while coolly inaugurating the London Turkish novel.’

Anthony Anaxagorou

‘A deft and dynamic debut flushed with unforgettable characters alongside an intimate sense of community. Tice Cin charts the complexities of inner-city and diasporic life, morality and relationships through a gripping network of twists and turns in a wholly unique way. I thought I knew what North London was about, I realised after reading this I didn't.’

Praise from Booksellers

‘A bold and assured debut that rethinks what a crime novel can be.’ Ollie Simpson, Pages of Hackney

‘Tice Cin fuses wild lyricism with dreamy romance in a form as voracious and alive as her characters.’ So Mayer, Burley Fisher Books

'A swirling collage of a novel that explores the dark side of a London community with great energy and warmth.' Kate Ellis, Brick Lane Bookshop

‘The Great Tottenham Novel exists and it’s called Keeping the House. I loved it.’ Gary Perry, Foyles

‘Cin’s natural poetry and the unique rhythm of her storytelling weave a spellbinding narrative through several generations of a Turkish Cypriot family. A captivating read from a powerful new voice!’ Antony Hurley, Burley Fisher Books

‘Tice Cin has a rare talent: Keeping the House weaves multiple languages and complex form, and still remains a fast paced, addictive read.’ Aimée Madill, Phlox Books

‘A brilliant London novel, of the kind we need more of: polyphonic, multilingual, thrillingly alive with all the people, food, music that make this city what it is.’ Gayle Lazda, London Review Bookshop