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The Lie of the Land Hardcover – 15 Jun 2017
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I loved the The Lie of the Land. A panoramic, superbly-plotted novel about the ways we live now, about money and desire, cruelty and generosity, crime and vengeance, country and city. Craig is at the top of her game in the sweep of her storytelling, the richness of her characters, her black comedy, irony and commitment (Helen Dunmore)
There is much to relish here. The sharp characters, the smooth grown-up prose, the irony, and the ability to weave warmth and dark honesty like few other novelists can. A very good read indeed (Matt Haig)
Amanda Craig is one of the most brilliant and entertaining novelists now working in Britain and her range of sympathy and humor and understanding of the Way We Live Now are deeply impressive (Alison Lurie)
Sharply satirical (Observer)
As we watch the Bredin family tumble down the property ladder out of the city to the shock of country life, Amanda Craig fearlessly and faultlessly dissects our 21st century life capturing all the anxieties and absurdities of austerity era Britain. We are left simultaneously laughing and cringing as we can't fail to see ourselves in the lives of those portrayed in The Lie of the Land. Like all great fiction, it embraces us with a brilliant story while holding up an unflinching mirror asking questions of ourselves (Roland Gulliver, Associate Director, Edinburgh International Book Festival)
A marvellously readable novel, written with great humour and spark, but also social heart and central relevance to the way we live now. To achieve both in one is a terrific - and uncommon (Caroline Sanderson, the Bookseller)
You have a treat in store when you read the witty and insightful new novel by Amanda Craig. I just *love* The Lie of the Land, on so many levels. Land works as a rollicking narrative, a forensic examination of a marriage many will recognise, a skilful portrayal of rural poverty (spiritual as well as economic) and a serious evocation of the way humans can change (Bel Moooney)
A funny, moving and brilliantly characterised novel about what happens when the metropolitan dream goes sour.See all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
The book sucks the reader in to its fictional but very believable world, and if the mystery around which the plot centres is not too hard to guess, the denouement is satisfyingly suspenseful and melodramatic.
Incidentally, if you have not read Craig’s other novels, don’t be put off by the fact that some of the characters in The Lie of the Land feature in her earlier work. This book stands by itself and you do not need any prior knowledge of the characters to enjoy it.
Their austere new life in the country is contrasted with what they have had to give up in the city, and to make matters worse their marriage is in crisis and they can’t even afford a divorce! Lottie and Quentin are broke, the son gets zero-contract employment under harsh conditions in a pie factory, and instead of private education the daughters attend the local school. Lack of money is at the root of many problems, and the falling apart of the marriage highlights the devastation and hurt of Lottie with the arrogant philandering of Quentin. These main characters are well-drawn and credible as they attempt to fit into the local scene, and so are the many other characters brought into play. Lottie’s mother is asset rich but avoids becoming involved; Quentin’s father is being nursed at home by his wife; the son mixes with immigrant workers; and the daughters have to adjust. There is a weird house cleaner with a problematic daughter; a childless health visitor and her farmer husband; and neighbours include a rock-star and family – where the neighbour is also Lottie’s and Quentin’s landlord.Read more ›
Lottie, an architect, who thinks she‘s perfect, and Quentin a journalist who reminds me of a young Bill Nighy, are in a fix. They have both lost their jobs and can’t secure a sale of their London house in order to formalise their three-year separation. This was caused by Quentin straying, although he excuses himself by saying ‘it was nothing’, as you do. Now they actually have to live together again, there’s no alternative.
Sparklingly well observed, truthful dialogue opens up their dilemma, which races on into swift removal of the family from Highgate to ‘Home Farm’, a Devon Longhouse, recommended by Quentin’s parents who live nearby. This was quickly snapped up by Lottie at a suspiciously low rent. A cleaner is hired by Quentin to take care of his share of the housework. Janet, a spooky pumped up Mrs.Read more ›
Lottie's teenage son Xan fails to get the grades he was counting on to take up his offer of a place at Cambridge so instead gets a job with a zero hours contract at a pie factory whilst his little sisters start at the local village school. All of the family are really struggling to cope with their new circumstances and new environment, where it is deemed the norm to shoot foxes and vote UKIP. Also, unlike their neighbours they are clueless as to what happened at their new abode a year ago to make the rent so cheap.
The book shows clearly the deep divide between different classes in this country and how people in the provinces are often looked down upon by city dwellers. This is a black comedy with an explosive ending and I could not put it down. No hesitation in recommending.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Amanda Craig's novels are often very funny in parts, and this one is no exception. There are some hilarious scenes - mostly involving Quentin. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Annabel Gaskell
An extraordinarily readable, engaging and gripping tale, but less for its plot than its brilliantly observed and executed look at Britain today. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Book Critic
I enjoyed this book about a middle class family having to relocate from London to Devon after falling on ‘hard times’. Read morePublished 27 days ago by Emile Zola reader
"Quentin and Lottie Bredin, like many modern couples, can't afford to divorce. Read more
I have long been an admirer of Amanda Craig’s writing. It has been a long time waiting between her last novel, Hearts and Minds (2010) and this one, The Lie of The Land. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Lady Fancifull
An honest reflection of life and its vicissitudes, particularly in its comparisons of community - the bustle and hedonism of London, and the perhaps darker elements of part of the... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Sandford
Amanda Craig is a terrific writer – why isn’t she more well known? I loved The Vicious Circle and Hearts and Minds and wondered if her new book would be as good. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Wynne Kelly
'The Lie of the Land' is a novel set in contemporary Britain, following the Bredin family - husband Quentin, a journalist; wife Lottie, an architect, Lottie's mixed-race teen son,... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Melanie Pratt
To quote from the author's end piece : "Nabokov said that 'all great novels are fairy tales'. All novels worth reading are too. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Emily - London