Black Lake: Book summary and reviews of Black Lake by Johanna Lane

Black Lake

by Johanna Lane

Black Lake by Johanna Lane X
Black Lake by Johanna Lane
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About this book

Book Summary

A debut novel about a family losing grip of its legacy: a majestic house on the cliffs of Ireland.

The Campbells have lived happily at Dulough - an idyllic, rambling estate isolated on the Irish seaside - for generations. But upkeep has drained the family coffers, and so John Campbell must be bold: to keep Dulough, he will open its doors to the public as a museum. He and his wife, daughter, and son will move from the luxury of the big house to a dank, small caretaker's cottage. The upheaval strains the already tenuous threads that bind the family and, when a tragic accident befalls them, long-simmering resentments and unanswered yearnings surface.

As each character is given a turn to speak, their voices tell a complicated, fascinating story about what happens when the upstairs becomes the downstairs, and what legacy is left when family secrets are revealed.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"This is a solid debut novel about what happens when a family whose identity is deeply rooted in their home is forced to move." - Publishers Weekly

"The characters' only weakness might be their near-flawlessness; the Campbells are kind, loving people, who inhabit their world of privilege without a hint of entitlement." - Booklist

"Lots of symbolic portent - the past, the sea, the family - and an overcomplicated narrative structure attempt to turn an elemental melodrama into a novel with more literary weight." - Kirkus

"In Black Lake Johanna Lane accomplishes the nearly miraculous: she paints the world of her story with such care and skill that, before you know it, it will feel more real than your own." - Josh Weil, author of The New Valley

"I cannot tell you how moved I was by Black Lake. I turned the pages with such ease! It was so beautifully written... Lane conveys without any mawkishness the loss of this lovely place in the lives of this family, and the loss in all our lives of a childhood place wherever and whatever it was..." - Shelia Kohler, author of Becoming Jane Eyre

"Johanna Lane's lovely novel is jeweled with shrewd insights into childhood and the way people relate to habitation and place. It's a book to admire and immerse yourself in." - Amit Chaudhuri, author of The Immortals

"In this beautiful portrait of a family faced with unbearable loss, Lane reveals, not only what slips between the cracks in everyday communication, but also the secret loves and longings we all harbor, even if we never allow our hearts to speak, or our minds to dwell upon, what we need to say and hear, in order to continue as whole and undamaged spirits...a very, very good novel." - John Burnside, author of The Glister

"A lush, beguiling beauty, like the Ireland of its setting. Novels like this one don't get written very often; when they do we remember why we love novels in the first place." - Elisa Albert, author of The Book of Dahlia

This information about Black Lake was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

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Cherie

Congratulations
Black Lake a story that goes full circle. Beautifully written. The reader is left with a feeling that they have been there, watched it all and are content.

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Author Information

Johanna Lane

Johanna Lane was brought up in Ireland, studied English Literature at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and Creative Writing at Columbia's MFA program. She lives in New York City.

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