The Land of Decoration by Grace McCleen
A Novel

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But the book’s tensions mount in a simple and schematic way, with danger escalating on cue and Judith’s mental state getting scarier, until it’s time for them to stop mounting and for Judith’s little world to become a better place.
-NY Times

Synopsis

A mesmerizing debut about a young girl whose steadfast belief and imagination bring everything she once held dear into treacherous balance
In Grace McCleen's harrowing, powerful debut, she introduces an unforgettable heroine in ten-year-old Judith McPherson, a young believer who sees the world with the clear Eyes of Faith. Persecuted at school for her beliefs and struggling with her distant, devout father at home, young Judith finds solace and connection in a model in miniature of the Promised Land that she has constructed in her room from collected discarded scraps--the Land of Decoration. Where others might see rubbish, Judith sees possibility and divinity in even the strangest traces left behind. As ominous forces disrupt the peace in her and Father's modest lives--a strike threatens her father's factory job, and the taunting at school slips into dangerous territory--Judith makes a miracle in the Land of Decoration that solidifies her blossoming convictions. She is God's chosen instrument. But the heady consequences of her newfound power are difficult to control and may threaten the very foundations of her world.
With its intensely taut storytelling and crystalline prose, The Land of Decoration is a gripping, psychologically complex story of good and evil, belonging and isolation, which casts new and startling light on how far we'll go to protect the things we love most.

 

About Grace McCleen

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Grace McCleen is a writer and musician and lives in London. She studied English Literature at Oxford University and won the Desmond Elliott prize in 2011 for her first novel THE LAND OF DECORATION. Her second, THE PROFESSOR OF POETRY will be published by Sceptre in 2013.
 
Published March 27, 2012 by Henry Holt and Co.. 321 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Land of Decoration
All: 4 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 2

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Amity Gaige on Jun 22 2012

Although “The Land of Decoration” is philosophically sophisticated, it is still narrated by a 10-year-old girl...some things are beyond her purview, and some language beyond her limits.

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NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Janet Maslin on Mar 21 2012

But the book’s tensions mount in a simple and schematic way, with danger escalating on cue and Judith’s mental state getting scarier, until it’s time for them to stop mounting and for Judith’s little world to become a better place.

Read Full Review of The Land of Decoration: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Times

Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Colin Greenland on Mar 23 2012

Any author, of course, is free to scramble history into any shape they fancy. By doing it in this book, though, McCleen perilously weakens her argument.

Read Full Review of The Land of Decoration: A Novel | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Nicola Barr on Mar 03 2012

Like her biblical namesake, Judith does conquer her oppressors, but there is no sense of triumph the novel's final message is of religion's failure to offer real solace.

Read Full Review of The Land of Decoration: A Novel | See more reviews from Guardian

Reader Rating for The Land of Decoration
73%

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