Fallen Land Poplar Farm has been in Louise’s family for generations, inherited by her sharecropping forebears from a white landowner after a lynching. Now, the farm has been carved up, the trees torn down; a mini-massacre replicating the destruction of lives and societies taking place all over America. Architect of this destruction is Paul Krovik, a property developer soon driven insane by the failure of his dream. Julia and Nathaniel arrive from Boston with their son, Copley, and buy up Paul’s signature home in a foreclosure sale. They move into the half-finished subdivision and settle in to their brave new world. Yet violence lies just beneath the surface of this land, and simmers deep within Nathaniel. The great 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 are lost, Copley becomes convinced that someone is living in the house with them.

This is a dark and sometimes frightening novel about how we might live in the future under the control of large global corporations but in truth probably more accurately how we live our lives now.
Against the backdrop of life on the ghost estate that is Dolores Woods where Paul tried to control his neighbours and how they lived. Where Nathaniel works for a global corporation that aims to control all lives throughout the world and Louise who is being evicted whilst her daughter tries to make decision on her behalf we are asked if this is how we want to live and are we now at the stage when we trust no one and all want to cut ourselves off from neighbours and behind locked doors.
This is Patrick Flanery’s second novel, a powerful follow up to Absolution, it is set in his native America and he paints a story of America we don’t often encounter. It is a beautifully written novel with a build-up of tension from the beginning. It’s a tale of old, new, change, questions and if the past is good why do we always feel we need to change everything.

Sheila O’Reilly

Atlantic Books/£12.99/9780857898777

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, it is a powerful tale and I would recommend it as a must stock book for independents.

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