Fallen Land: A Novel

Fallen Land: A Novel

by Patrick Flanery
     
 

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From the critically acclaimed author of Absolution, a literary page-turner set in the American heartland.

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

Overview

From the critically acclaimed author of Absolution, a literary page-turner set in the American heartland.

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.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
★ 09/01/2013
In compelling prose, Flanery (Absolution) unveils the insidious growth of defense contractor EKK Corporation into a global big brother intent on managing all aspects of people's lives. At the crux of this intense narrative are Paul Krovik, a failed building contractor whose paranoid delusions have alienated his family and left him holed up and armed in a bunker under the house that he considered his masterpiece, and EKK executive Nathaniel, the usurper who now lives with his wife, Julia, and son, Copley, in Paul's former home. Confusing Copley with his own son, Carson, Krovik steals into the house at night in a misguided effort to watch over the lonely boy. But when Copley warns his parents of this strange presence, they fear for his emotional health. Julia turns to former schoolteacher Louise, the granddaughter of sharecroppers, who inherited the land on which Krovik's planned community was built. Burdened with medical bills after her husband's death, and with her home in foreclosure, Louise needs a place to live, and Copley needs an advocate. VERDICT In alternating chapters, Flanery gives every character a nuanced inner voice, allowing the reader to empathize with, if not fully understand, the actions of each. This is a tense, gut-wrenching take on the American dream gone horribly awry.—Sally Bissell, Lee Cty. Lib. Syst., Fort Myers, FL
The New York Times Book Review - David Vann
Flanery is a talented writer with a dynamic and frightening vision of the role that corporations and security have in American life. Fallen Land begins a bit slowly, but once Nathaniel's story takes over, with its evocative parallels to [John Cheever's] Bullet Park, the novel becomes an engaging attempt to identify the source of sourceless rage and the reasons an American dream, once achieved, can feel empty. It speaks especially eloquently to our uncertain times.
From the Publisher
“Dazzling . . . thrilling . . . downright exhilarating"—Washington Post

"As in his sterling 2012 debut, Absolution, Flanery balances thriller-novel twists with smart and sincere sociological meditations."—Wall Street Journal

"Patrick Flanery has fashioned a crumbling 21st-century manor that can hold its own among those authors most sepulchral, allegorical inspirations. . . . We follow Fallen Land on tenterhooks from fearsome opening to shuddery climax, waiting to see what it will do."—Boston Globe

“Flanery has planted a modern-day bogeyman tale in this fertile ground of suspicion. . . . He has the skill and the vision to transform the darkness that has infected this country into something that walks the earth”—New York Daily News

“[Flanery is a] gifted storyteller . . . manages to both provoke and enthrall in this densely plotted page turner.”—BookPage

“[Flanery] confronts the traumas of American life with poignancy and the gravity they deserve, approaching them with the care required to help weather the storm.”—BookSlut

"This psychological thriller doesn’t stop at suspenseful and chilling, though. Fallen Land deconstructs the American dream to expose its most damning flaws and unsound foundations. The novel is rich in imagery and metaphor, and its conclusions are deeply disturbing. Written with the same elegance and ease demonstrated in Absolution, Flanery’s second novel will keep readers riveted from intriguing prelude to stunning finale."—Booklist (starred)

"Flanery’s engrossing new novel speaks to modern anxieties through themes of loss. . . . Flanery excels in depicting psychic anguish. Paul is both disturbing and fascinating, and Copley, helpless in the face of his father’s increasing harshness, is eminently sympathetic. The characters’ struggles culminate in a shocking and memorable denouement."—Publishers Weekly (starred)

"Flanery explores family and social mores, cataloging emotional damage tumbling from generation to generation, all woven into a metaphorical tale about the human cost of bubble economics, the undermining of personal freedoms in the name of homeland security and the ugly consequences of the privatization of public service. . . . Flanery’s dark view of human ambition, weakness and complacency is both thoughtful and terrifying. A haunting, layered allegory."—Kirkus (starred)

“Flanery gives every character a nuanced inner voice, allowing the reader to empathize with, if not fully understand, the actions of each. This is a tense, gut-wrenching take on the American dream gone horribly awry.”—Library Journal, (starred)

"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

“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
 

NPR's Weekend All Things Considered
...a dark and complex thriller.
The Boston Globe
Patrick Flanery has fashioned a crumbling 21st-century manor that can hold its own among those authors' most sepulchral, allegorical inspirations.
Wall Street Journal
...as in his sterling 2012 debut, Absolution, Mr. Flanery balances thriller-novel twists with smart and sincere sociological meditations...

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101626733
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/15/2013
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
448
Sales rank:
669,023
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“Dazzling . . . thrilling . . . downright exhilarating"—Washington Post

"As in his sterling 2012 debut, Absolution, Flanery balances thriller-novel twists with smart and sincere sociological meditations."—Wall Street Journal

"Patrick Flanery has fashioned a crumbling 21st-century manor that can hold its own among those authors most sepulchral, allegorical inspirations. . . . We follow Fallen Land on tenterhooks from fearsome opening to shuddery climax, waiting to see what it will do."—Boston Globe

“Flanery has planted a modern-day bogeyman tale in this fertile ground of suspicion. . . . He has the skill and the vision to transform the darkness that has infected this country into something that walks the earth”—New York Daily News

“[Flanery is a] gifted storyteller . . . manages to both provoke and enthrall in this densely plotted page turner.”—BookPage

“[Flanery] confronts the traumas of American life with poignancy and the gravity they deserve, approaching them with the care required to help weather the storm.”—BookSlut

"This psychological thriller doesn’t stop at suspenseful and chilling, though. Fallen Land deconstructs the American dream to expose its most damning flaws and unsound foundations. The novel is rich in imagery and metaphor, and its conclusions are deeply disturbing. Written with the same elegance and ease demonstrated in Absolution, Flanery’s second novel will keep readers riveted from intriguing prelude to stunning finale."—Booklist (starred)

"Flanery’s engrossing new novel speaks to modern anxieties through themes of loss. . . . Flanery excels in depicting psychic anguish. Paul is both disturbing and fascinating, and Copley, helpless in the face of his father’s increasing harshness, is eminently sympathetic. The characters’ struggles culminate in a shocking and memorable denouement."—Publishers Weekly (starred)

"Flanery explores family and social mores, cataloging emotional damage tumbling from generation to generation, all woven into a metaphorical tale about the human cost of bubble economics, the undermining of personal freedoms in the name of homeland security and the ugly consequences of the privatization of public service. . . . Flanery’s dark view of human ambition, weakness and complacency is both thoughtful and terrifying. A haunting, layered allegory."—Kirkus (starred)

“Flanery gives every character a nuanced inner voice, allowing the reader to empathize with, if not fully understand, the actions of each. This is a tense, gut-wrenching take on the American dream gone horribly awry.”—Library Journal, (starred)

"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

“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
 

Meet the Author

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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