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Fallen Land: A Novel Hardcover – August 15, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover; 1ST edition (August 15, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594631808
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594631801
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,143,912 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* The land once belonged to Louise’s family, but she had to sell it in the wake of her husband’s death. Now she watches from the small plot that remains in her possession as Paul Krovik erects his new housing development, beginning with his own home. But Paul’s vision is ill-founded, and when he loses everything, he sinks into madness and goes into hiding in a bunker beneath his house. Chasing their own dreams, Julia and Nathaniel buy Paul’s foreclosed home and move to the small town with their son. Unaware of the man living below them, they cannot conceive of their danger. As they become increasingly mindful of an unexplainable presence in their home, Nathaniel’s reservations about the move grow to the point of insanity, leading them all toward the tragedy hinted at in the novel’s beginning. 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 (2012), Flanery’s second novel will keep readers riveted from intriguing prelude to stunning finale. --Cortney Ophoff

Review



“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
 


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Customer Reviews

This was a very thrilling and poignant book, and the theme was very developed.
Jodi
The behavior of all becomes more and more unbelievable until the unsatisfying and somewhat confusing conclusion.
wogan
The reader knows, from the start, that this man is evil - but Flanery makes us look further and more deeply.
Lady Fancifull

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It was impossible for me to read Fallen Land without seeing obvious parallels to the recent housing crisis, with events in the novel, surreal as they often were, reflecting the feelings of so many who have lost their homes. The alienation and loss of identity of people who've lost their refuges in the world - or are unsettled in their new surroundings - is almost palpable.

At the heart of Fallen Land is Paul Krovik, a property developer who wanted to be a builder ever since he was a young child playing with blocks. To fulfill his dreams, he eventually purchases Poplar Farm. The land has been in Louise Washington's family for generations. Although Louise was pressured to sell the land, she was ultimately unwilling to leave her beloved house. She feels added resentment because she is forced to watch the trees and wildlife on Poplar Farm being destroyed for an inept, senseless plan. She'd been led to believe they would be spared.

This is is a haunting and very poignant work, one which is also at times suspenseful and violent. The actions of most of the main individuals are so extreme that I found it best to view the story as a symbol for current events and passions in today's world - rather than a depiction of believable events (similar to the way a good fantasy may highlight reality in sharper detail).

As time goes on, Paul grows increasingly unhinged and out of touch with reality. Not only are his luxury homes half-finished but his wife and young sons have also left him. Even so, he clings to the home he no longer owns, living in secret within it (how he accomplishes this is too complicated to explain here).
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By D. Sorel VINE VOICE on July 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Whenever I hear that there is a novel about a plot of land that has been handed down from generation to generation, I can't get my hands on it fast enough. "Fallen Land" sounded perfect in that it was about a plot of land that had inadvertently been given to a sharecropping family after the Civil War. But what happens when that family's legacy can't keep the land? What happens when the land is corrupted by greed and crippled dreams? And when another family enters into the mix in hopes of starting anew...will they be able to overcome the cursed land?

While there's a flashback to how the property came into its current hands, the majority of the novel focuses on the land as it is today. Based down from generation to generation in a time when African American families were not considered landowners, the plot had huge significance to the African American family that lived on it. But when the patriarch died, there was no one to keep up the house and farm. So the last woman in the legacy, sold off pieces to a developer who promised to bring prosperity to the land and rejuvenate it. Instead, he divided up the land, cut down the trees, and built shabby houses. All the while, the last woman in the family watched as her property was thrown to the wolves and she was on the brink of getting evicted. When the developer went bankrupt, he had to leave the land...but what if he had no where to go? What if the land had such a hold on him that he was incapable of leaving? Another family moves into the developer's old house to start anew in this little Midwest town. The family is far from perfect and the land seems to further irritate their already tenuous relationship. It's obvious from the get-go that this is a prescription for disaster!

Are you sucked in yet? Well, I was!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Digital Rights on June 3, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
When Julia and Nathaniel relocate from Boston to an unnamed mid western city with their 7 year old son Copley for better jobs, better pay and escape their own haunting pasts their lives collide with a builder that's lost everything, a company that gets an A+ in evil and town that's become socially dysfunctional as it's finances have collapsed.

"Fallen Land" is a taut psychological thriller. It's a winner but one that owes kudos to everything from Dennis Lahane to "Cape Fear" to Jon Cassar. Dystopia sells and Patrick Flanery is selling it at a bulk rate where Nate, Juile and Copley have moved into a failed society of evil corporations managing lives, alienating suburbs, racism masked as immigration, drug pushing psychiatrists, narcissistic parents to consumed to understand their child, cynical "education" that teaches nothing but obedience bullying and tasers and really bad weather. In the end no one can ever rise above it and instead defer to their worst instincts. Some are victims. Others get just what they deserve.

As entertainment it works. We love this stuff. "24", Kennedy conspiracies, "Homeland" "Revolution" or anything on the SciFi channel. In all cases we're not in control, cannot make a bit of difference and it all ends badly.

And there is good horror too. We read/watch with half closed eyes as our lead characters all inevitably dissolve. We want to look away but you can't. I know I couldn't. I LIKED IT! Just like a good Parker novel or Charles Bronson flick. The only thing missing from was our stalker Paul Krovik "calling from inside the house".

My point here is that as entertainment it's great.
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