Landscapes (Hardcover)

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Landscapes By Christine Lai Cover Image
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Staff Reviews

Catastrophes are also quiet. Climate change will also change our hearts & minds. In what might be my favorite novel on the topic, Li uses the dissolution of previously grand English estate & the grumbling mental & emotional resolve of its archivist to explore the experiences and emotions of decay and disintegration. Art. Politics. A love triangle involving brothers. There is also great depth to this story beneath the big impacts of rising sea levels. A truly brilliant novel.

- Josh

— From Landscapes (Staff Pick)


* An October 2023 ABA "Indie Next List" Pick.
* A Publishers Weekly's "Writers to Watch" (Fall 2023)

An entrancing and prismatic debut novel by Christine Lai, set in a near future fraught with ecological collapse, Landscapes brilliantly explores memory, empathy, preservation, and art as an instrument for recollection and renewal.

In the English countryside--decimated by heat and drought--Penelope archives what remains of an estate's once notable collection. As she catalogues the library's contents, she keeps a diary of her final months in the dilapidated country house that has been her home for two decades and a refuge for those who have been displaced by disasters. Out of necessity, Penelope and her partner, Aidan, have sold the house and its scheduled demolition marks the pressing deadline for completing the archive. But with it also 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 pastoral and the country house novel for our age of catastrophe, and announces the arrival of an extraordinarily gifted new writer.

Additional reading:
Necessary Fiction presents "Research Notes" by Landscapes author Christine Lai (September 15, 2023): The Research Notes series invites authors to describe their process for a recent book, with "research" defined as broadly as they like.

Read an excerpt:
Electric Literature presents "An Archivist for the End of the World," an excerpt from Landscapes by Christine Lai, recommended by Ayşeg l Savaş.

Interview Magazine: Christine Lai Sep 13, 2023
Amanda Paige Inman, for Interview Magazine, spoke with author Christine Lai about her debut novel, Landscapes, the challenges of writing certain characters, ruins, diaries, missed connections, the joys of collecting, Lai's enduring fascination with country houses, and so much more.

Write or Die Magazine: Christine Lai Sep 12, 2023
For Write or Die Magazine, Nirica Srinivasan spoke with author Christine Lai about the seed for the story of her debut novel, Landscapes, how she settled on the unique structure of the book, background behind the novel's many references, art, objects, violence, the ruinous, future setting, and much, much more.

Publishers Weekly: Writers to Watch, Fall 2023 Jun 30, 2023
Matt Seidel, for Publishers Weekly, spoke with Christine Lai, author of the debut novel Landscapes--included as one of "this season's crop of promising debut fiction offering] timeless human dramas from fresh perspectives"--about how her novel came to be written, her inspirations, and more

Q&A with Christine Lai Dec 12, 2022
Eric Obenauf, editorial director of Two Dollar Radio, talked with Christine Lai about her debut novel Landscapes: "The role of the writer is not unlike that of the archivist, bringing together images and ideas, saving them from dispersal and placing them into a collection that lends them meaning." We hope you enjoy this fascinating interview

About the Author

Christine Lai grew up in Canada and lived in England for six years during graduate studies. She holds a PhD in English Literature from University College London. Landscapes was shortlisted for the inaugural Novel Prize, offered by New Directions Publishing, Fitzcarraldo Editions, and Giramondo. Christine currently lives in Vancouver.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781953387387
ISBN-10: 1953387381
Publisher: Two Dollar Radio
Publication Date: September 12th, 2023
Pages: 230
Language: English