From the critically acclaimed author of Absolution, a literary page-turner set in the American heartland.
Poplar Farm has been in Louise’s family for generations, inherited by her sharecropping forbearer from a white landowner after a lynching. Now the farm has been carved up, the trees torn down—a mini-massacre replicating the history of many farms before it, and the destruction of lives and societies taking place all across America.
Architect of this destruction is Paul Krovik, a property developer soon driven insane by the failure of his ambition. Left behind is a half-finished “luxury suburb” of neo-Victorian homes on the outskirts of a sprawling midwestern city. To Paul it is a collapsed dream, but to Julia and Nathaniel, arriving from their small Boston apartment, it is a new start, promising a bucolic future. With their son, Copley, they buy Paul’s signature home in a foreclosure sale and move in to their brave new world. Yet violence lies just beneath the surface of this land, and simmers deep within Nathaniel. The remaining trees bear witness, Louise lives on in her beleaguered farmhouse, and as reality shifts, and the edges of what is right and wrong blur and then vanish, Copley becomes convinced that someone is living in the house with them.
Flanery s engrossing new novel speaks to modern anxieties through themes of loss. In an unnamed Midwestern city, Paul Krovik has lost his business due to incompetence, his home due to foreclosure, and his family due to divorce. Now he lives in a bunker adjoining his former home. Neighbor Louise Washington is being evicted from her home on her family farm, which is being sold off to satisfy debts. Nathaniel Noailles s family Boston transplants now living in Paul s old house is falling apart, partly due to poltergeistlike nighttime visits from Paul (who emerges in the pantry via a secret tunnel) and partly due to son Copley s difficulties in a draconian school run by Nathaniel s employer, the sinister multinational security corporation EKK. Convinced that Copley is responsible for the disturbances in the house, Nathaniel ignores the problems he is having at school. Only Copley s mother Julia and Louise believe the boy is innocent. Flanery (Absolution) excels in depicting psychic anguish. Paul is both disturbing and fascinating, and Copley, helpless in the face of his father s increasing harshness, is eminently sympathetic. The characters struggles culminate in a shocking and memorable denouement.