Dog-eared Man: a book a week

Year 3 / Book 5: The Lie of the Land

5) The Lie of the Land by Amanda Craig

What a thoroughly enjoyable read this was: another one pulled from the ‘Best Of’ Lists, Amanda Craig’s novel follows a family who move to Devon because they can no longer afford to live in London (and can’t afford their divorce). So they move to the slightly weird Home Farm, where seemingly something odd and slightly chilling has happened….Throw in a local pie factory employing largely people from Poland, an ageing rock star who owns the local estate, and a host more of excellently drawn characters and you have the ingredients for a sumptuous read.

It is brilliantly done – Craig skewers the London arrogance and attitude brilliantly, and uses the vehicle of the husband’s newspaper column (The Questing Vole) to flush out all the cliches and stereotypical views that metropolitans bring about living ‘in the country’. The crime that happened at the house is the thing that spurs the plot and novel forwards, but there are excellent sub-plots about their son Xan on his journey of self-discovery and awareness, about the health visitor trapped in a loveless marriage, and about the main couple themselves trying to work out what their relationship is now.

While the ending lapses into a bit of farce-meets-melodrama, it is a highly entertaining read. Amongst all the laughs, the book manages to meaningfully delve into complex family relationships, poverty and inequality in today’s Britain, and the difference between work and fulfilment. It’s excellent stuff, and highly recommended – for Londoners & Devonians alike.

Score: 8.5/10

BUY IT NOW: The Lie of the Land