Landscapes by Christine Lai
From Two Dollar Radio
* 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.