Judith and her father don't have much -- their house is full of dusty relics, reminders of the mother she's never known. But Judith sees the world with the clear Eyes of Faith, and where others might see rubbish, Judith sees possibility. Bullied at school, she finds solace in making a model of the Promised Land -- little people made from pipe cleaners, a sliver of moon, luminous stars and a mirror sea -- a world of wonder that Judith calls The Land of Decoration. Perhaps, she thinks, if she makes it snow indoors (using shaving foam and cotton wool and cellophane) there will be no school on Monday...
Sure enough, when Judith opens her curtains the next day, the world beyond her window has turned white. She has performed her first miracle. And that's when her troubles begin.
With its intensely taut storytelling and gorgeous prose, The Land of Decoration is a heartbreaking story of good and evil, belief and doubt. Its author, Grace McCleen, is a blazing new talent in contemporary literature.
Elizabeth Stone, a respected academic, has a new lease on life. In remission from cancer, she returns to the city where she was a student over thirty years ago to investigate some little-known papers by T. S. Eliot, which she believes contain the seeds of her masterpiece; a masterpiece that centres on a poem given to her when she was eighteen by the elusive Professor Hunt...
But as the days pass in the city she loves and her friendship with Professor Hunt is rekindled, her memories return her to a time shadowed by loneliness, longing and quiet despair, and to an undeclared but overwhelming love. Paralysed by the fear of writing something worthless, haunted by a sense of waste, Elizabeth Stone comes to realise she is facing the biggest test of her life.
As in her acclaimed debut The Land of Decoration, Grace McCleen gives an intense evocation of place, an unflinching portrayal of a character by turns comic, absurd, and disturbing, and a powerful sense of the transcendent within the ordinary. Profound and hypnotic, The Professor of Poetry devastates even as it exhilarates and echoes long after it has been closed.
Découvrez la rentrée littéraire 2013 des éditions NiL avec ces quatre extraits :
Parce que tu me plais, de Fabien Prade - Premier roman Arrête, arrête, de Serge Bramly Le plus beau de tous les pays, de Grace McCleen Le jardin blanc, de Stephanie Barron
I thought it began the day Father came home without work. Then I thought perhaps it really began the day we arrived at the farm, rumbled up the track, opened the gate and stood looking around as if we had found ourselves in some enchanted land . . .
Something happened on Madeline's fourteenth birthday, something so traumatic that it triggered her mental breakdown. Many years later, she still can't - or perhaps won't - recall the events of that night.
A charismatic new psychiatrist, Dr Lucas, believes he can unlock Madeline's memory by taking her step by step through the preceding year, when her father moved the family to an island he was certain God had guided them to.
Money was short, her mother often unwell and her father a volatile presence. Yet Madeline loved their rural idyll, sensing God in every blade of grass; and when things started to go wrong, she thought she knew how to put them right. But as Dr Lucas unearths the past, it becomes apparent that she was seriously misguided - and that he is treading on very dangerous ground.
Lyrically evoking the rhythms and beauty of the natural world, The Offering is a novel taut with foreboding, a haunting tale of misplaced faith and a heartbreakingly damaged psyche.