An entrancing and prismatic debut novel, set in a near future fraught with ecological collapse, LANDSCAPES brilliantly explores memory, empathy, preservation, and art as an instrument for recollection and renewal.
by Christine Lai
Two Dollar Radio, September 2023
(via Frances Goldin Literary Agency)
In the English countryside—decimated by heat and drought—Penelope archives what remains of an estate’s once notable art collection. The crumbling country house has been her home for two decades and a refuge for those who have been displaced by disasters, but it is scheduled for demolition in a few months’ time. With this pressing deadline comes the impending return of Aidan’s brother, Julian, at whose hands Penelope suffered during a brief but violent relationship twenty-two years before. As Julian’s visit looms, Penelope finds herself unable to suppress the past, and she clings to art as a means of understanding, of survival, and of reckoning.
Recalling the works of Rachel Cusk and Kazuo Ishiguro, LANDSCAPES is an elegiac and spellbinding blend of narrative, essay, and diary that reinvents the country house novel for our age of catastrophe, and announces the arrival of an extraordinarily gifted new writer.
Christine Lai holds a PhD in English Literature from University College London and an MPhil from the University of Cambridge. She lives in Vancouver, Canada.
“This is an extraordinary work.” —Kate Zambreno, author of Drifts and The Light Room
“A transcendent, achingly beautiful debut.” —Omar El Akkad, Giller Prize-winning author of What Strange Paradise and American War