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The Land of Decoration Paperback – 5 Mar 2013

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--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Paperback: 308 pages
  • Publisher: Picador USA; Reprint edition (5 Mar 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250024072
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250024077
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 2.2 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,283,633 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"An extraordinary and peculiarly haunting novel" (Chris Cleave author of The Other Hand)

"Extraordinary" (Emma Donoghue, author of Room)

"Enchanting and compellingly dark... This is an intensely personal story, but told with a lightness of touch and air of magic" (Nigella Lawson Mail on Sunday Books of the Year)

"A tremendously affecting novel, skillfully and arrestingly written, and one that packs a big emotional punch" (Sunday Times)

"Both sinister and sharply intriguing, with a completely convincing eleven-year-old narrator caught in fundamentalism, school persecution and the edge of the miraculous" (A.S. Byatt Guardian, Books of the Year) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

Winner of the Desmond Elliott Prize and the Betty Trask Prize, The Land of Decoration is blissfully inventive, brilliantly written, with a huge heart, and a tense, pulsing plot - it introduces a young heroine who will change the way you see the world. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By I Heart Books on 9 April 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I could NOT put this book down. I found it original in its idea and extremely well executed. The short chapters kept the reader's interest and the subject matter was powerful, entrenched in the real world and compelling. The fact that this was narrated by a ten year old girl made it even more so.

For the first time in my life, I found myself liking a Richard and Judy recommendation. Grace McCleen gave voice to Judith McPherson in such a way that I could see her standing before me. McCleen captured the naiivity and unworldliness of a child brought up in a strict religious home perfectly. She dealt brilliantly with the subject of bullying and perfectly encapsulated life in a working-class town.

Every character came to life for me, every description of the town placed me right there. The slow unwinding of Mr McPherson was so well done that it left me breathless.

If this is a debut novel, keep writing Ms McCleen. A breath of fresh air in a world increasingly filled with bad novels. I'm off to find more!!
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48 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Ripple TOP 100 REVIEWER on 28 Feb 2012
Format: Hardcover
Grace McCleen's debut novel, "The Land of Decoration" paints an original, unsettling, sometimes dark and generally rather wonderful picture. Narrated by ten year old Judith, raised by her father who is a fundamental religious follower of the end of the world is nigh variety, it looks at bullying, both at school and in more general society, faith and the possible rejection thereof and the strength of childhood imagination.

The Land of Decoration of the title is Judith's model society built from bits of rubbish which she imagines as the biblical post-end of the world nirvana where she and her father will again be reunited with her mother. It's intricately modeled including life-like people, and based on their own valley town. Its origin is clearly in the religious views of her father but also represents a safe place that Judith's imagination can run riot, particularly when she is threatened and bullied at school. However, when Judith wishes for snow to cancel school to avoid a promised beating from the class bully by invoking snow in her imaginary world, the unseasonable snow of the following day leads her to believe that she has the power to work miracles.

There are two potential pitfalls here for the unwary debut novelist, both of which McCleen avoids with great style. Firstly there's the issue of a child narrator. Handled badly, this can be nauseating, but Judith's voice is consistently believable retaining charm without becoming overly sentimental. Her struggle to understand the working of the world around her, which is particularly unusual in her case, is moving and realistic.

Secondly, there is the religious content. Her father's faith is of the variety that most of us cross the street to avoid.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. Fiona Wilton VINE VOICE on 14 Jun 2013
Format: Paperback
Written for the perspective of Judith, a young girl, this novel explores so much about life, the universe and everything. Judith, an only child, and her father live a devoutly religious life which is all encompassing for Judith who creates an imaginary paradise using tiny scraps of rubbish and odd bits of material. The novel quickly becomes quite dark and unsettling as Judith is bullied at school and her detached relationship with her widowed father fractures intensely.
I very quickly became utterly absorbed in this book. The concept worked brilliantly and the finer details add such authenticity and colour to the plot. It's very moving in places and I admit I had to put it down to 'recover' from the intensity - but that is testament to how engulfing this novel is.
There are so many themes and ideas to ponder about this novel and I think it would make a really excellent book group read (in fact it is a Richard and Judy book group novel). At the end of the novel there are some suggested book group questions which is useful as well as an interview with the author. If you liked books such as The Lovely Bones or When God Was a Rabbit then you'll enjoy this too. For other suggestions on books written from a child's perspective then you can look at my Listmania list which may help you; search on Amazon Listmania! for From a Childs Perspective.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Dowden HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 25 Dec 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I took a chance on this book, as the blurb sounding rather intriguing. It is hard to describe this novel as it doesn't fit nicely into a particular niche, yes it could be called Christian fiction, but it could be called lots of other things as well. Whether this will sell well I do not know, as anyone who knows me will tell you, I am notoriously bad at picking future bestsellers.

The story centres on Judith McPherson, who is only ten years old. She and her dad live alone as her mother died giving birth to her. They are either Jehovah's Witnesses or of some such persuasion. One thing becomes immediately clear; Judith is lonely and doesn't seem to have any friends of her own age. Along with strange dreams Judith has built what she calls the Land of Decoration in her bedroom, this is made out of rubbish and odds and ends, and she plays with this all the time. When Judith makes it snow in her play world, it does in the real world. With this and God talking to her Judith soon comes to realise that she has special powers. With her being constantly bullied at school, and her father being a strike-breaker can Judith make changes in the real world that will put things right?

Judith starts an unforeseen change of events that could end up disastrous, but what will ultimately happen? Looking at how children can have simple faith and how an adult can have these faiths shattered this novel takes us into philosophical and theological matters whilst still being an absorbing read. This is definitely a book that draws you in and holds your attention.
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