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Landscapes (FORTHCOMING)

a novel by
Christine Lai


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$ 18.95 
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ABOUT

This book will be released on September 12, 2023.

Christine Lai author of Landscapes a novel


"A haunting, hypnotic novel that collapses the distances between violence and beauty, horror and longing, art and decay. I was completely absorbed in its nuanced, atmospheric world, at once familiar and menacingly strange, and I am astonished by Christine Lai's vision."
—Ayşegül Savaş, author of White on White and Walking on the Ceiling

“For all its eerily ephemeral worldbuilding, its quiet ruined setting, Landscapes is a raw-nerve of a novel. In a love letter to and elegy for disappearing art in a disappearing world, Christine Lai has managed to lay bare the mechanics of loss, both personal and communal. The result is a masterful inspection of what it means to live through decay, to grasp, amidst so much loss, the unreliable lifeboat of memory. A transcendent, achingly beautiful debut.”
–Omar El Akkad, Giller Prize-winning author of What Strange Paradise and American War

"This is an extraordinary work—a contemplative novel set in a postapocalyptic landscape, that meditates on painting, specifically J.M.W Turner's ruins. The diary running through, both archiving the past as well as cataloguing the natural world, is reminiscent of Marlen Haushofer's The Wall as well as Derek Jarman's gardening journals, in their devastation and slow beauty. Christine Lai's exquisite speculative fiction as art criticism should be read alongside Ayşegül Savaş, Amina Cain, Maria Gainza, and Judith Schalansky."
—Kate Zambreno, author of Drifts and The Light Room


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, earthquakes and floods—Penelope archives what remains of an estate’s once notable collection. As she catalogs 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 with its scheduled demolition comes this pressing task of completing the archive. But with it also comes the impending arrival of Aidan’s brother, Julian, who will return to have one final look at his childhood home. During a brief but violent relationship twenty-two years before, Penelope suffered at the hands of Julian, and as his visit looms, she finds herself unable to suppress the past in her efforts to build a possible, if uncertain, future.

In this elegiac and spellbinding blend of narrative, essay, and diary, Penelope 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 evocative reinvention of the pastoral and the country house novel for our age of catastrophe, and announces the arrival of an extraordinarily gifted new writer.

Reviews

“Gentle and wise, intimate and atmospheric, elegant and impressionistic, at the center of Landscapes is a question that is almost always on my mind now. What do we do with art, with beauty, in a time of crisis and collapse?”
Amina Cain, author of A Horse at Night and Indelicacy

“Christine Lai's Landscapes is a haunting archive of the long-gone, the broken, and the soon-to-be-lost — a study in disintegration — but also, simultaneously, a heady page-turner about beauty and community and, through these, hope. A startling and beautiful debut.”
Danielle Dutton, author of Margaret the First and SPRAWL

“In deft movements triangulating possession, loss, and memory, Lai's meditative accounting of lives and culture in violent displacement and ruination feels like a witnessing of our probable path through the years ahead, in which all may be uncertain but the human will to repair and rebuild.”
Pitchaya Sudbanthad, author of Bangkok Wakes to Rain

"This is an extraordinary work—a contemplative novel set in a postapocalyptic landscape, that meditates on painting, specifically J.M.W Turner's ruins. The diary running through, both archiving the past as well as cataloguing the natural world, is reminiscent of Marlen Haushofer's The Wall as well as Derek Jarman's gardening journals, in their devastation and slow beauty. Christine Lai's exquisite speculative fiction as art criticism should be read alongside Ayşegül Savaş, Amina Cain, Maria Gainza, and Judith Schalansky."
Kate Zambreno, author of Drifts and The Light Room

“For all its eerily ephemeral worldbuilding, its quiet ruined setting, Landscapes is a raw-nerve of a novel. In a love letter to and elegy for disappearing art in a disappearing world, Christine Lai has managed to lay bare the mechanics of loss, both personal and communal. The result is a masterful inspection of what it means to live through decay, to grasp, amidst so much loss, the unreliable lifeboat of memory. A transcendent, achingly beautiful debut.”
Omar El Akkad, Giller Prize-winning author of What Strange Paradise and American War

"A haunting, hypnotic novel that collapses the distances between violence and beauty, horror and longing, art and decay. I was completely absorbed in its nuanced, atmospheric world, at once familiar and menacingly strange, and I am astonished by Christine Lai's vision."
Ayşegül Savaş, author of White on White and Walking on the Ceiling

Guide

BOOK CLUB & READER GUIDE: Questions and Topics for Discussion

Click here to view and/or download the Landscapes reader guide as a PDF.

[Link will be live by Sept. 1st!]

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.

Visit the Christine Lai author page for additional details and interviews.

Sneak Peek

Coming soon!

info

TERRITORY: U.S.
FORMAT: Paperback Original (1st printing, gatefold)
LIST PRICE: $18.95
PAGES: 230
PRINT ISBN: 9781953387387
DIGITAL ISBN: 9781953387394
RELEASE DATE: September 12, 2023
SIZE: 5.5" x 7.5"

Printed in Canada by Marquis, with the following environmental statement:
*Printed on Rolland Enviro. This paper contains 100% post-consumer fiber, is manufactured using renewable energy - Biogas and processed chlorine free.
*FSC certified paper (inside and cover).

Paper Rolland Enviro icons