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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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Terrific, page-turning, slyly funny (India Knight Sunday Times)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
A funny, moving and brilliantly characterised novel about what happens when the metropolitan dream goes sour.
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