* A Best Book of the Year --NPR
* 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.
Necessary Fiction presents "Research Notes" by Landscapes author Christine Lai (September 15, 2023): The Research Notes series invites authors to describe their process for a recent book, with "research" defined as broadly as they like.
Read an excerpt:
Electric Literature presents "An Archivist for the End of the World," an excerpt from Landscapes by Christine Lai, recommended by Ayşeg l Savaş.
Across the Pond podcast: Christine Lai, "Landscapes" Nov 28, 2023
Christine Lai reads from her debut novel, Landscapes, and speaks with Across the Pond hosts Lori Feathers and Sam Jordison about the inspiration behind the various elements infused in the novel, from personal trauma, Turner's artwork, ownership, colonization, refugees, climate devastation, healing through art, and so much more
Origin Story Podcast: Christine Lai Oct 3, 2023
In the episode "Christine Lai on How Art Endures Even After Apocalypse," Origin Story hosts Phillip Russell and Ben Thorp speak with the novelist about the release of her debut novel, Landscapes, our enduring relationship to art, the book's editing process, the experience of publishing, what she is working on next, and so much more
Bookin' Podcast: Christine Lai Sep 24, 2023
"This week, host Jason Jefferies is joined by Christine Lai, who discusses her new novel Landscapes, which is published by our friends at Two Dollar Radio. Topics of discussion include novels about art, what you can learn about a character based on their attitude towards another character's art (through the lens of Nabokov's Pale Fire), whether a critic can ever become a part of the art they are criticizing, Penelope as a name in literature, documentation, climate fiction, capitalism and possession, and much more. Copies of Landscapes can be purchased here with FREE SHIPPING for members of Explore More+."
Interview Magazine: Christine Lai Sep 13, 2023
Amanda Paige Inman, for Interview Magazine, spoke with author Christine Lai about her debut novel, Landscapes, the challenges of writing certain characters, ruins, diaries, missed connections, the joys of collecting, Lai's enduring fascination with country houses, and so much more.
Write or Die Magazine: Christine Lai Sep 12, 2023
For Write or Die Magazine, Nirica Srinivasan spoke with author Christine Lai about the seed for the story of her debut novel, Landscapes, how she settled on the unique structure of the book, background behind the novel's many references, art, objects, violence, the ruinous, future setting, and much, much more.
Publishers Weekly: Writers to Watch, Fall 2023 Jun 30, 2023
Matt Seidel, for Publishers Weekly, spoke with Christine Lai, author of the debut novel Landscapes--included as one of "this season's crop of promising debut fiction offering] timeless human dramas from fresh perspectives"--about how her novel came to be written, her inspirations, and more
Q&A with Christine Lai Dec 12, 2022
Eric Obenauf, editorial director of Two Dollar Radio, talked with Christine Lai about her debut novel Landscapes: "The role of the writer is not unlike that of the archivist, bringing together images and ideas, saving them from dispersal and placing them into a collection that lends them meaning." We hope you enjoy this fascinating interview
About the 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.