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Terra oscura

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  359 ratings  ·  97 reviews
La pioggia sembra non smettere mai di cadere, qui al centro degli Stati Uniti, nel cuore del paese, dove Nathaniel e Julia Noailles si sono appena trasferiti insieme al figlio Copley. Ma cercano di non abbattersi, perché sono una famiglia perfetta: due giovani professionisti in carriera con un bambino bello e intelligente, alla ricerca di una casa tutta loro dove mettere r ...more
Hardcover, La Biblioteca della Spiga, 414 pages
Published September 29th 2016 by Garzanti (first published 2013)
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3.57  · 
Rating details
 ·  359 ratings  ·  97 reviews

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switterbug (Betsey)
Aug 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
"Perhaps we are merely a future civilization's pre-history, terrible apes who soak the land with their own blood."

FALLEN LAND is a haunting American story about the ghosts of history, dating back to the race riots of 1919, which were collectively coined the "Red Summer." This story takes place in the present, in an unnamed city in the American Heartland, which I imagine as the author's hometown of Omaha, one of the twenty-five cities that the riots took place.

The story of land ownership and disp
Jun 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is hard not to read Patrick Flanery’s Fallen Lands as a cautionary tale, a parable of how far we’ve fallen and how quickly we’ve “advanced” to a future of hyper-security and lack of individuality.

Nathaniel, his wife Julia and their sensitive and troubled son Copley swap their city life in Boston for a planned community in Delores Woods, an unnamed southern town. They were able to purchase the house due to a foreclosure; the planner of the community, Paul Krovik, abandoned the community after
Jun 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a 4.5 star read for me.

There is nothing more wonderful than reading a book that grabs you, holds you, and then has you telling everyone – read this book! Fallen Land is a searing morally complex novel about the bittersweet legacy of families, loss, shattered dreams, and smoldering violence in a most contemplative suspenseful manner.
Louise Washington has lost too much over the past years – her husband, and most of the land (Poplar Farms) held by her family for generations. All she has l
May 06, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Kept going back and forth - I loved it, I hated it, I loved it. A book that definitely leaves you spinning at some moments, cold at others.

The first dislocation that I felt on opening the novel and finding the characters implausible was actually my own "fault" and a tribute to Flanery's skill. When I know I want to read a book (and Absolution got to my heart sufficiently to ensure that anything Flanery writes for the next few years will be an automatic read), I don't read any blurbs or reviews.
This was so promising and wound up being such a mess, I'm not sure what to say, especially since I thought Absolution, his first novel, was very very strong. As a dystopian piece of fiction about the rise of the surveillance security state and the infiltration of the penal system on education, there's some real brilliance here. But at 400+ pages, many sloggy passages, a Magical Negro and a precocious child, not one but two adults who suffered abusive's simply too much.

Kasa Cotugno
In his two books, Patrick Flanery has developed a consistent focus despite the fact that his debut novel, Absolution, takes place in South America, and this one (hard to believe it's only his second) unfolds in an unnamed city in American's heartland. The state is described at one point as historically conservative, having a new ball park and many skyscrapers. For ease of orientation, I chose St. Louis. The focus I refer to earlier is this: no one owns land. It owns you. At different times, two ...more
Bill Albert
It is alleged that when Samuel Goldwyn was asked about the message he was trying to convey in his movie, can’t remember which movie, he said "If I wanted to send a message, I'd use Western Union". Someone should’ve sent the author that message, maybe even using Western Union. I found this book too clunky. It seems to be a selection of cardboard cutout situations inhabited by cardboard cutout characters. It was about as subtle as being bashed on the head continually with a snow shovel. I know the ...more
David Meldrum
Patrick Flanery has forced me to take a decision I rarely take. That is, having read this as well as his first book, Absolution, I have decided that I will aim to read every book he publishes. Simply put, he is brilliant. Like Absolution, this is a thriller wrapped around a literary novel about the state of a country (this time America). Like Absolution it's also concerned with the truths we tell, the lies we choose, the security we crave and the worlds we create for ourselves. Like Absolution, ...more
Francene Carroll
*SPOILER ALERT* As the description suggests, this haunting book is about the failure of the American dream. Builder Paul Krovik dreams of attaining great wealth through buying land and constructing an estate of faux-traditional homes. Louise Washington, an African-American woman whose family have owned the land for generations, is forced to sell and watch as her beloved farm and surrounding woodlands are destroyed. Krovik's greed and haste to get rich are his undoing as the houses he builds are ...more
Bruce Hatton
Sep 22, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: us-crime
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Roman Clodia
Jun 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"It feels like a land of extreme evil tempered only now and then by idiosyncratic, fallible good"

This is a flawed book and yet it's so magnificently ambitious that it almost can't help but fail to articulate in a single coherent vision all the things that it's trying to say - and its very failure is a testament to its breadth and its moral weight.

I don't want to give away plot points but this is a bleak story of profoundly broken people pushed to extremes and fracturing under pressure.

Flanery is
Apr 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, favorites
Just outside a large Midwestern city Louise Washington attempts to hang on to the last pieces of Poplar Farm, which has been in her family for generations, as architect Paul Krovik develops a luxury suburb on tiny tracts around her. Though their creation has cost Paul his family and savings, the poorly constructed Victorian style homes fail to sell, pushing him to the edge of insanity. While Louise and Paul feel like they are losing everything, Boston couple Nathaniel and Julia excitedly purchas ...more
One of the things that increasingly worries me about living in 21st century Britain is how more and more public services are being outsourced and privatised. This means that the Government has absolved itself of any responsibility to provide services that are essential to the functioning of society — such as prisons, basic education, health care, security, rail travel and energy, to name but a few — and handed them over to companies which supply these services purely to make a profit. So, if you ...more
It took me a while to get into this book and I never could read more than a few pages at a time before losing interest or falling asleep. (You could blame that on being a sleep-deprived mother of two, but I'm a voracious reader, so you be the judge...) Honestly, I probably would have abandoned it entirely if I hadn't won my copy through a First Reads giveaway. Because I felt a sense of obligation to finish it, I trudged on.

The characters are all troubled. Their stories are dark; and their commo
Jun 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Flanery has written a wonderfully creepy novel that deals with our deep fears on so many levels, from the hidden intruder in the house, who rearranges the furniture and interferes with us in our sleep, to the all-seeing surveillance of big brother that takes away all of our freedoms in the name of security. Flanery slowly ratchets up the tension and creates an unsettling vision of America, divided by its past and confused about the future, at once parochial and paranoid, driving itself mad in se ...more
Aug 03, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
i expected much more. the story is good but it takes forever to tell. almost all of the characters are negative and the view of our education system, counseling, child abuse, government, security and "big brother" control of our lives is very negative.
i also do not like books that start at point a then got to point f, c, d, b, e and g for the conclusion. end of with a lot of repeating and trying to remember when this event occurred and the cause.
Jun 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was going to be a dystopian science fiction novel, and there was a little of that. It's a bit like The Shining in which a family falls apart in a kind of haunted house setting. But deeper issues are addressed and the characters are so interesting and well written. It's just a great read!
Jan 12, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I just did not care about the plot or characters. I think the book was over praised by others to me, therefore the book just did not live up to my expectations. I was expecting the "best book of the year" It was interesting and would make for a good discussion. Probably really a three star, but over sold to me.
Too much incoherent verbiage. In fits and starts an interesting plot is emerging - with some interesting passages. But half way I gave up. Never really went anywhere. Lots of talking about trees. And words that just didn't make sense to me. Kind of strange. Like several different people were writing one novel.
Amy Mcqueen
Nov 12, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Couldn't get into it further than two chapters. While I love imagery and character development, I felt like the author was trying too hard. Everything was laid on a bit thick which made it feel melodramatic. Less would have been more in this case.
Gary Carnivele
I could not finish this book. The characters we're believable and I could not care less about them. The plot was ridiculous. I could understand the themes he tried to explore, but it was too heavy-handed. George Orwell meets Stephen King meets B-movie.
Rachel Nowakowski
Feb 14, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up
Couldn't really get into this. There are plenty more books out there!
Bonnie Wilson
Jul 08, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book just doesn't work. The devolution of the central couple from their point of origin is too abrupt; their response to various assaults on their lives too passive. The reader is supposed to believe that in a few short months parents who had been caring and attentive are sleeping with a shut door and ear plugs when they believe their young son is experiencing extreme and dangerous sleep disturbances? As a metaphor it's pretty obvious, but there is no transition between these characters as ...more
May 31, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So much going on. I like how the author moves around switching viewpoints. So much distrust. The story dragged along is some spots, but I think it was necessary for the reader to understand each character. The story didn't end on a happy note with everything resolved. But that was okay with me. It was the inevitable ending to a story like this.
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This story just didn't grab me. The writing is good, the story is just so-so.
Roger Brunyate
Jun 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: top-ten-2013
Ways to Fall

A perfect title for a stunning book. Its literal meaning is explained in the 1919 prologue, when a tree on which two men have been lynched falls deep into a sinkhole with the bodies still on it. The rest of the novel takes place in the present, or perhaps the not too distant future, when the land has been developed as an upscale subdivision for a rapidly growing city in the Midwest. But we are not quite there yet. In a second, slightly longer prologue, a woman goes to visit a convict
Mar 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
State of the Union
‘Anyone who doesn’t believe in freedom at eighteen is a fascist. Anyone who doesn’t believe in security at forty is a criminal.’

In this extraordinary book, Flanery delves deep into the troubled American psyche in the post 9/11, post global crash world where the tectonic plates of certainty and complacency have shifted with volcanic and destructive results.

When the economic collapse strikes, Paul Krovik loses everything, including his family and the house that he built for the
Oct 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
EKK rules the MIDWEST, USA

An outstanding work. A book I finished a couple of days ago, and still feel haunted by…

The plot is ‘simple’ and set out, as I am about to set it out, pretty unbelievable. The characters are larger than life and parodies of themselves. The basic narrative stretches credibility to beyond breaking point.

Paul Krovik is a failed building contractor who is holed up in a bunker attached (via a ‘secret passage’ from the pantry) to a house in which he used to live with his wife
Jul 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary-fiction
I received this book in a Goodreads giveaway.
This engrossing an haunting novel takes on very heavy issues within the form of a proto-dystopian thriller. Taking place in an unnamed midwestern city, Fallen Land centers around an ensemble of characters who are all part of a growing nightmare. Louise Washington is an elderly woman who has sold her farmland to a developer and is about to be evicted from her home (which has been in her family for generations). Paul Krovik is the developer who bought L
Oct 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
“The helicopter has been hovering overhead for the last twenty minutes. He knows he can hear the rapid thwacking buzz of a flying lawnmower cutting down clouds…” (27).
" 'Trust the gleam of your own mind'" (30). *This would make a good bumper sticker.
"Stuff it back inside, fist my tongue behind my teeth, a salt-knuckle silencing" (54). *Wow.
" 'No one reads books anymore,' the decorator said, 'but they're kind of decorative, and they make good noise insulation in condos'" (78). *Another reason to
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Patrick Flanery was born in California in 1975 and raised in Omaha, Nebraska. After earning a BFA in Film from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts he worked for three years in the film industry before moving to the UK, where he completed a doctorate in Twentieth-Century English Literature at the University of Oxford. As well as publishing scholarly articles on British and South African ...more
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