A singular and brilliant new voice to heed, read and recommend to all you know.
Grace McCleen lives in London. The Land of Decoration is her first novel.
"This extraordinary tale of one little girl's End Times grabbed me by the throat. The Land of Decoration is part social observation and part crazy mysticism, held together by a brutally real story of parent-child love." -- Emma Donoghue, Author Of Room
This debut novel takes its title from the book of Ezekiel, in which the biblical prophet describes that place awaiting believers as a "Land of Decoration." In a rundown English factory town, 11-year-old Judith and her father cling to this promise of rapture as their daily lives become increasingly difficult. Judith's mother has died, bullies at school torment Judith constantly, and labor unrest unsettles the factory. As refuge, Judith creates her own "Land of Decoration," a miniature world composed of found objects where peace and happiness preside. When God speaks to her and "miracles" begin occurring, it is unclear whether she is receiving divine guidance or merely hearing voices. Her father, meanwhile, withdraws into a life of austerity and a hope for Armageddon as practiced by their church. When people retreat into alternate realities, it is common for their shaky foundations to crumble; indeed, this happens to Judith and her father. VERDICT As in Stephen Kelman's Pigeon English (2011), a young, likable narrator faces big challenges with perhaps a touch of extra-sensory power. Charming in detail, frustrating in that the bullies are so powerful, and somewhat derivative in plot, this novel does not have a clear audience, unfortunately.-Susanne Wells, MLS, Indianapolis (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.