Shocking, tender, and grotesque, this darkly humorous novel captures the resilience and confusion of growing up. The Houdinis have grand plans for their family when they move to a dilapidated and isolated farm in the heart of the Australian bush. The mother, famous violist husband, and seven children plan on becoming self-sufficient, allowing creativity to rule and forming the perfect environment to raise a family of musicians, artists, and poets. But as problems arise from both outside and within the house, Ursula Houdini watches her brothers and sisters thrive and then wither under a mixture of love, neglect, and cruelty. In this affectionate and compelling story, Ursula must ultimately decide what she is willing to sacrifice to make her own place in the world.