The Lie of the Land Hardcover – 15 Jun 2017
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Terrific, page-turning, slyly funny (India Knight Sunday Times)
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)
A gripping, compassionate and often funny take on a cross-section of Britain that fiction tends to overlook. In the end, it is good to get out of London (Sunday Times)
Amanda Craig's new novel delivers wit, mysteries and a dark commentary on the differences between life in the London bubble and the rest of the country (Daily Mail)
Like those great, state-of-the-nation chroniclers Balzac and Dickens, she perceives how all levels of society are unwittingly interconnected. In The Lie of the Land, she assembles a cracking cast of characters...If Evelyn Waugh had a social conscience and liked children, he could have been Craig (Allison Pearson Sunday Telegraph)
Connoisseurs of schadenfreude will love this cautionary tale (Mail on Sunday)
It's a hell of a novel - dark, gripping and beautifully written (Alex Preston Observer)
an assured tale of rural disillusionment... An enjoyable, sharp-witted and at times knowingly melodramatic novel, it lives up to the promise of its title (Financial Times)
Craig's energetic satire of middle-class manners segues seamlessly into edge-of-the-seat murder mystery (Daily Mail)
A wily novel turns the country idyll on its head...This is a novel that pulls in all sorts of directions but keeps in sight that people are always capable of change (Guardian)
Craig's humour is truthful and easygoing, and she's even-handed to both the weird Devonians and xrass urban "incomers". Just as in Cold Comfort Farm, there is something nasty in the woodshed (Vogue)
This clever novel, with its dollop of state-of-the-nation reflection, is timely (Mail on Sunday)
Companionable, deceptively lightly written novel that uses a marriage-in-crisis plot to expose the fault lines in post EU referendum Britain (Metro)
A great novelist, with an extraordinary mixture of deep compassion for humanity and a witheringly satirical eye, Amanda Craig shows us the reality, through the eyes of her expertly drawn characters (Ysenda Maxtone Graham Country Life)
Craig's finger is on the nation's pulse in this sharply perceived family drama (Woman & Home)
There is powerful nature writing here, as well as social satire. Think James Rebanks's The Shepherd's Life, but with sex, politics, malice, murder and Le Creuset saucepans . . . Craig is whetstone-sharp . . . ingenious. I was sure I'd solved it, but Craig is clever at herding you in the wrong direction with feints and false leads (Spectator)
A hugely readable book packed with incident gradually turns into a rich and revealing portrait of contemporary Britain (Readers Digest)
A hugely entertaining black comedy and psychological thriller rolled into one (Saga)
Craig writes with intelligence and humour and she is curious about the world (New Statesman)
A clever, pacy and well-observed novel (Sunday Express)
Sharply satirical (Observer)
Startlingly vivid and affecting . . . impressively nuanced and ultimately moving (Literary Review)
More than just a state-of-the-nation dispatch: it is also a clear-eyed yet unfailingly compassionate examination of a long marriage...As generous and wise as it is witty and incisive, this novel is the timeliest of page-turners (The Lady)
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)
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)
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)
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)
an ingenious plot and a literally breathtaking denouement. Whether you are urban or rural, there is much here to keep you engrossed; often with a wince of self-awareness (Keren David Jewish Chronicle)
Craig is a social commentator and author with a sharp, satirical eye (Anthony Horowitz)
Craig's portrayal of the raw knottiness of family life is highly entertaining, but amid the humour, The Lie of the Land is a tale of the divisions of a contemporary Britain - where rural and urban lives, young and old, rich and poor are starkly juxtaposed. It is very much a novel of our time (Amme Joseph Times Literary Supplement)
A funny, moving and brilliantly characterised novel about what happens when the metropolitan dream goes sour.See all Product description
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Top customer reviews
The characters were well drawn and completely believable.
For me ,however, the most outstanding character was the land, views and descriptions of the old house. I appreciate the fact that the author did her research thoroughly and this added authenticity to the quality of the visions placed before us.
Splendid read. Thankyou
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.
The dark side of ‘The Lie of the Land’ stems from the farmhouse being let at a very low rent as it is the scene of a recent and unsolved brutal murder, and this aspect is interwoven with all others. Author Amanda Craig repeatedly refers to the circumstances of the murder as she skilfully introduces tensions and suspense into her portrayal of rural versus urban with conflicts between haves and have-nots. Readers will come to realise that everything introduced by the author is for a purpose – and they can look forward to a satisfying conclusion when all is drawn together.
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. Danvers type, comes with Dawn, her monosyllabic daughter who, surprisingly, can ripple off tricky scores on the Bosendorfer piano left by the last tenant. Other characters include a secretive rock star who owns the estate, Gore Tore, and his lively wife Di from Australia. I loved safe and cosy Sally the farmer’s wife and local Health Visitor, also Xan, Alexander, Lottie’s son pre Quentin. Marta, Lottie’s mother, sits selfishly in her six million quid London house while acting poor; Naomi and Hugh, Quentin’s parents are facing Hugh’s slow deterioration from cancer. Many names hark from other books by Amanda Craig, this didn’t affect my enjoyment, just made me want to read them too.
The finale, literally breathtaking, had me flicking through the pages at top speed. A wonderful book!
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This is a great book!
The characters were brilliant, each endearing and flawed with some leaning more one way than the other.Read more