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A Fallen Land

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Accessibility links Skip to article Skip to navigation. Saturday 21 September Fallen Land, by Patrick Flanery, review.

Fallen Land

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Fallen Land: A Novel by Taylor Brown, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

This half-baked philosophy is both seductive to a child growing up in the shadow of a forceful parent, especially so and highly toxic: even before Paul's American dream runs into financial trouble, he is preparing "not just for attack by foreign terrorists, or governments, but also for the possibility of hostile fellow Americans, for a new civil war, or for an environmental, technological, or biochemical conclusion to the human era on this planet".

In short, Paul Krovik, a potentially good man who "loved his wife, still loves her, loves the boys as well, only ever wanted to protect them and still does", has placed himself on a war footing with the entire world. As his poorly constructed houses begin to fall apart and the lawsuits and debts pile up, his wife divorces him and flees with the children to Florida, leaving him with nothing but a state-of-the-art post-apocalyptic bunker into which he has needlessly thrown hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Like its predecessor, Fallen Land is a book full of sinister echoes, bad history rising from the tainted earth, not so much to infect as to reveal the poisonous currents running just beneath the appearance of normal, even conventional life. The paranoia and innate violence of America's bad dream not only drives Paul to desperate acts, but also poisons Nathaniel, the seemingly contented husband and father who buys Krovik's signature house after the would-be property tycoon goes bankrupt. In an epigraph, Flanery picks up on Hawthorne's observation in The House of the Seven Gables , of : "In this republican country, amid the fluctuating waves of our social life, somebody is always at the drowning-point. In Fallen Land , Flanery has given us a gripping thriller, and a superb portrayal of how ordinary men can veer into madness, but its real power lies in its recognition of the tragic failure of an American dream that should have tried, at least, to live up to Francis Bellamy's principle of "liberty and justice for all".

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