Fallen Land: Book summary and reviews of Fallen Land by Patrick Flanery

Fallen Land

by Patrick Flanery

Fallen Land by Patrick Flanery X
Fallen Land by Patrick Flanery
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  • Published in USA  Aug 2013
    416 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

Poplar Farm has been in Louise's family for generations, inherited by her sharecropping forbearer from a white landowner after a lynching. Now the farm has been carved up, the trees torn down - a mini-massacre replicating the history of many farms before it, and the destruction of lives and societies taking place all across America.

Architect of this destruction is Paul Krovik, a property developer soon driven insane by the failure of his ambition. Left behind is a half-finished "luxury suburb" of neo-Victorian homes on the outskirts of a sprawling midwestern city. To Paul it is a collapsed dream, but to Julia and Nathaniel, arriving from their small Boston apartment, it is a new start, promising a bucolic future. With their son, Copley, they buy Paul's signature home in a foreclosure sale and move in to their brave new world. Yet violence lies just beneath the surface of this land, and simmers deep within Nathaniel. The remaining trees bear witness, Louise lives on in her beleaguered farmhouse, and as reality shifts, and the edges of what is right and wrong blur and then vanish, Copley becomes convinced that someone is living in the house with them.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. In a novel both symbolic and philosophical, Flanery's dark view of human ambition, weakness and complacency is both thoughtful and terrifying. A haunting, layered allegory." - Kirkus

"Starred Review. Flanery's engrossing new novel speaks to modern anxieties through themes of loss ... Flanery excels in depicting psychic anguish...The characters' struggles culminate in a shocking and memorable denouement." - Publishers Weekly

"Like Flanery's debut, Absolution, Fallen Land is thematically ambitious - the financial crisis and the legacy of slavery are among its concerns - but also thrillingly tense and atmospheric. The author tugs at the edges of his narrative until it assumes exaggerated, Gothic shapes. Comparisons to Nathaniel Hawthorne, to whom there are allusions throughout, would not be extravagant." - Financial Times

"Now, on the back of his highly regarded South Africa–set debut, Absolution, Patrick Flanery takes up the challenge of what DeLillo calls 'the American mystery' in a new novel that also explores the dark shadows cast by history and old lies ... In Fallen Land, Flanery has given us a gripping thriller, and a superb portrayal of how ordinary men can veer into madness, but its real power lies in its recognition of the tragic failure of an American dream that should have tried, at least, to live up to Francis Bellamy's principle of 'liberty and justice for all.'" - The Guardian (UK)

"Patrick Flanery's second novel ... combines old-style suspense with a chilling picture of modern America. ... Fallen Land is an ambitious thriller vehicle for a dissection of America...Fallen Land impressively examines how thoroughly the American dream has turned into the American nightmare." - Sunday Times (UK)

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Author Information

Patrick Flanery

Patrick Flanery is the author of Absolution. He was born in California and raised in Omaha, Nebraska. He received his doctorate from the University of Oxford. He lives in London.

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