"An elegantly constructed and often funny story about a man, a woman and . . . `the greatest modern English architect never to have built a building'" (The New York Times Book Review).
Geoff Nicholson's novel tells the story of Christopher Howell, a cult architect who allegedly built just one building, and the search for that fabled building-reputedly a wild, willful amalgam of styles ranging from eleventh-century Norman to twentieth-century Neutra. Ingeniously built into the narrative are bits of Howell's essays that celebrate the idea of the "Cardboard House" and the architecture of impermanence. When Howell's daughterand keeper of his flameKelly, and a Howell groupie named Jack Dexter hook up in a free-falling love affair, the search for this apocryphal building becomes a search for a lost past. Brilliantly funny and seriously obsessive, Female Ruins shows how the castles we build are often symbols of our own needs, follies, and magnificent obsessions.
"A meditative tale of a physical and psychological homecoming that builds its quiet and riveting plot through the dreams, achievements and theories of a dead architect with a mysterious legacy. . . . Nicholson eschews the sarcastic bite of his earlier books (such as Whitbread-nominee Bleeding London), unraveling a complex, subtle story with equally intricate and modulated characters. This restraint, which artfully leads the reader to the poignant yet satisfying denouement, gives the novel special appeal." Publishers Weekly
"With his two protagonists, Nicholson has created believably flawed human beings, and if they sometimes come off as mouthpieces for architectural theory, it is a forgivable sin in an otherwise enjoyable novel." Booklist