A funny, moving and brilliantly characterised novel about what happens when the metropolitan dream goes sour.
'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' Helen Dunmore
'She has everything you look for in a major novelist' Alison Pearson, Sunday Telegraph
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.
A suspenseful black comedy, this is a rich, compassionate and enthralling novel in its depiction of the English countryside, and the potentially lethal interplay between money and marriage.
Amanda Craig is a British novelist, short-story writer and critic. Born in South Africa in 1959, she grew up in Italy, where her parents worked for the UN, and was educated at Bedales School and Clare College Cambridge.
After a brief time in advertising and PR, she became a journalist for newspapers such as The Sunday Times, the Observer, the Daily Telegraph and the Independent, winning both the Young Journalist of the Year and the Catherine Pakenham Award. She was the children's critic for the Independent on Sunday and The Times. She still reviews children's books for the New Statesman, and literary fiction for the Observer, but is mostly a full-time novelist. Her last novel, Hearts And Minds, was long-listed for the Bailey's Prize for Women's Fiction.
Terrific, page-turning, slyly funny — India Knight, Sunday Times
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
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
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
Like those great, state-of-the-nation chroniclers Balzac and Dickens, she perceives how all levels of society are unwittingly interconnected. In The Lie of the Land, she assembles a cracking cast of characters...If Evelyn Waugh had a social conscience and liked children, he could have been Craig — Allison Pearson, Sunday Telegraph
Connoisseurs of schadenfreude will love this cautionary tale — Mail on Sunday
It's a hell of a novel - dark, gripping and beautifully written — Alex Preston, Observer
an assured tale of rural disillusionment... An enjoyable, sharp-witted and at times knowingly melodramatic novel, it lives up to the promise of its title — Financial Times
Craig's energetic satire of middle-class manners segues seamlessly into edge-of-the-seat murder mystery — Daily Mail
A wily novel turns the country idyll on its head...This is a novel that pulls in all sorts of directions but keeps in sight that people are always capable of change — Guardian
Craig's humour is truthful and easygoing, and she's even-handed to both the weird Devonians and xrass urban "incomers". Just as in Cold Comfort Farm, there is something nasty in the woodshed — Vogue
This clever novel, with its dollop of state-of-the-nation reflection, is timely — Mail on Sunday
Companionable, deceptively lightly written novel that uses a marriage-in-crisis plot to expose the fault lines in post EU referendum Britain — Metro
A great novelist, with an extraordinary mixture of deep compassion for humanity and a witheringly satirical eye, Amanda Craig shows us the reality, through the eyes of her expertly drawn characters — Ysenda Maxtone Graham, Country Life
Craig's finger is on the nation's pulse in this sharply perceived family drama — Woman & Home
There is powerful nature writing here, as well as social satire. Think James Rebanks's The Shepherd's Life, but with sex, politics, malice, murder and Le Creuset saucepans . . . Craig is whetstone-sharp . . . ingenious. I was sure I'd solved it, but Craig is clever at herding you in the wrong direction with feints and false leads — Spectator
A hugely readable book packed with incident gradually turns into a rich and revealing portrait of contemporary Britain — Readers Digest
A hugely entertaining black comedy and psychological thriller rolled into one — Saga
Craig writes with intelligence and humour and she is curious about the world — New Statesman
A clever, pacy and well-observed novel — Sunday Express
Sharply satirical — Observer
Startlingly vivid and affecting . . . impressively nuanced and ultimately moving — Literary Review
More than just a state-of-the-nation dispatch: it is also a clear-eyed yet unfailingly compassionate examination of a long marriage...As generous and wise as it is witty and incisive, this novel is the timeliest of page-turners — The Lady
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 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 marvellously readable novel, written with great humour and spark, but also social heart and central relevance to the way we live now. To achieve both in one is a terrific - and uncommon — Caroline Sanderson, the Bookseller
You have a treat in store when you read the witty and insightful new novel by Amanda Craig. I just *love* The Lie of the Land, on so many levels. Land works as a rollicking narrative, a forensic examination of a marriage many will recognise, a skilful portrayal of rural poverty (spiritual as well as economic) and a serious evocation of the way humans can change — Bel Moooney
As we watch the Bredin family tumble down the property ladder out of the city to the shock of country life, Amanda Craig fearlessly and faultlessly dissects our 21st century life capturing all the anxieties and absurdities of austerity era Britain. We are left simultaneously laughing and cringing as we can't fail to see ourselves in the lives of those portrayed in The Lie of the Land. Like all great fiction, it embraces us with a brilliant story while holding up an unflinching mirror asking questions of ourselves — Roland Gulliver, Associate Director, Edinburgh International Book Festival
an ingenious plot and a literally breathtaking denouement. Whether you are urban or rural, there is much here to keep you engrossed; often with a wince of self-awareness — Keren David, Jewish Chronicle
Craig is a social commentator and author with a sharp, satirical eye — Anthony Horowitz
Craig's portrayal of the raw knottiness of family life is highly entertaining, but amid the humour, The Lie of the Land is a tale of the divisions of a contemporary Britain - where rural and urban lives, young and old, rich and poor are starkly juxtaposed. It is very much a novel of our time — Amme Joseph, Times Literary Supplement