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The Lie of the Land
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Quentin and Lottie Bredin, like many modern couples, can't afford to divorce. Having lost their jobs in the recession, they can't afford to go on living in London; instead, they must downsize and move their three children to a house in a remote part of Devon. Arrogant and adulterous, Quentin can't understand why Lottie is so angry; devastated and humiliated, Lottie feels herself to have been intolerably wounded. Mud, mice and quarrels are one thing - but why is their rent so low? What is the mystery surrounding their unappealing new home? The beauty of the landscape is ravishing, yet it conceals a dark side involving poverty, revenge, abuse and violence which will rise up to threaten them. Sally Verity, happily married but unhappily childless knows a different side to country life, as both a Health Visitor and a sheep farmer's wife; and when Lottie's innocent teenage son Xan gets a zero-hours contract at a local pie factory, he sees yet another. At the end of their year, the lives of all will be changed for ever. Part black comedy, part psychological suspense, this is a rich, compassionate and enthralling novel in its depiction of the English countryside, and the potentially lethal interplay between money and marriage. Although it stands alone, it continues Amanda Craig's sequence of novels featuring inter-connected characters which illuminate aspects of contemporary life. It is the work of a writer at the height of her powers.
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About the Author

Amanda Craig is a well-known journalist and broadcaster. She is the author of A VICIOUS CIRCLE and IN A DARK WOOD. You can visit her website a www.amandacraig.com

Reviews

A timely and ironic portrait of a high-flying London couple and their family's decampment to rural Devon afterthey lose their jobs and income. This is not a tale city dwellers meet rural but a blistering picture of every day life for the majority of the population -- Lyn Roberts * Guardian * A sharp and witty dissection of contemporary ills, particularly as exhibited in dampest Devon -- Sue Gaisford * Tablet * The first great Brexit novel. Graced with Craig's expansive sympathy and darting wit, unlike the Brexiteer- Remoaner feud, it never descends into stupid caricature -- Allison Pearson * Telegraph * If you're after the juicier pleasures of a realist pageturner, pick up Amanda Craig's canny portrait of the bitter divisions in a marriage and the UK: The Lie of the Land sees a privileged couple who feel too poor for London move to rural Dorset. There they discover how the other 90% live in an elegantly written expose of all the things the elite would rather not consider about poverty, inequality, food production and class, with a nailbiting mystery thrown in -- Justine Jordan * Guardian * 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 * 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 * 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 * 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 * 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 * 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 * Startlingly vivid and affecting . . . impressively nuanced and ultimately moving * Literary Review * Sharply satirical * Observer * A clever, pacy and well-observed novel * Sunday Express * Craig writes with intelligence and humour and she is curious about the world * New Statesman * A hugely entertaining black comedy and psychological thriller rolled into one * Saga * A hugely readable book packed with incident gradually turns into a rich and revealing portrait of contemporary Britain * Readers Digest * 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 * Craig's finger is on the nation's pulse in this sharply perceived family drama * Woman & Home * 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 * Companionable, deceptively lightly written novel that uses a marriage-in-crisis plot to expose the fault lines in post EU referendum Britain * Metro * This clever novel, with its dollop of state-of-the-nation reflection, is timely * Mail on Sunday * 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 * Connoisseurs of schadenfreude will love this cautionary tale * Mail on Sunday * 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 * 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 energetic satire of middle-class manners segues seamlessly into edge-of-the-seat murder mystery * Daily Mail * It's a hell of a novel - dark, gripping and beautifully written -- Alex Preston * Observer * 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 * 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 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 * 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 * 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 * Witty, vicious, dark and unsettling, it's a book that has finally propelled Craig to her rightful place at the top table of contemporary novelists -- Alex Preston * Observer * One of my favourite reads of 2017... Craig's characters - old pop stars, failed poets, casual racists - are perfectly drawn and the writing is sharp, witty and very well-researched. I swear I'll never eat another meat pie after reading this. It works on every level... a social satire, a family drama and, yes, a mystery * Antony Horowitz * Absolutely magnificent state of the nation novel . . . very funny, very painful. If a man like John Lanchester had written this they'd be calling it a searing indictment of contemporary Britain -- Marian Keyes 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 As satisfying a novel as I have read in years. It is a wickedly observant comedy of manners, very alert to the way we live now, but somehow never cruel or judgmental -- Sarah Perry, author of The Essex Serpent * Guardian * Terrific, page-turning, slyly funny -- India Knight * Sunday Times *

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