OVERRIDE

The Land of Decoration

A Novel

Grace McCleen

Henry Holt and Co.

A mesmerizing debut about a young girl whose steadfast belief and imagination bring everything she once held dear into treacherous balance

In Grace McCleen's harrowing, powerful debut, she introduces an unforgettable heroine in ten-year-old Judith McPherson, a young believer who sees the world with the clear Eyes of Faith. Persecuted at school for her beliefs and struggling with her distant, devout father at home, young Judith finds solace and connection in a model in miniature of the Promised Land that she has constructed in her room from collected discarded scraps--the Land of Decoration. Where others might see rubbish, Judith sees possibility and divinity in even the strangest traces left behind. As ominous forces disrupt the peace in her and Father's modest lives--a strike threatens her father's factory job, and the taunting at school slips into dangerous territory--Judith makes a miracle in the Land of Decoration that solidifies her blossoming convictions. She is God's chosen instrument. But the heady consequences of her newfound power are difficult to control and may threaten the very foundations of her world.

With its intensely taut storytelling and crystalline prose, The Land of Decoration is a gripping, psychologically complex story of good and evil, belonging and isolation, which casts new and startling light on how far we'll go to protect the things we love most.


BOOK EXCERPTS

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The Empty Room
 

IN THE BEGINNING there was an empty room, a little bit of space, a little bit of light, a little bit of time.
I said: “I am going to make fields,” and I made them from place mats, carpet, brown corduroy, and felt. Then I made rivers from crêpe paper, plastic wrap, and shiny tinfoil, and mountains from papier mâché and bark. And I looked at the fields and I looked at the rivers and I looked at the mountains and I saw they were good.
I said: “Now for some light,” and I made a sun from a wire metal cage strung with beads
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REVIEWS

Praise for The Land of Decoration

"This extraordinary tale of one little girl's End Times grabbed me by the throat. The Land of Decoration is part social observation and part crazy mysticism, held together by a brutally real story of parent-child love."—Emma Donoghue, author of Room

  “A tremendously affecting novel, skillfully and arrestingly written, and one that packs a big emotional punch.” —The Sunday Times (UK)

 

“British musician McCleen’s debut explores the complexities of love between a widowed father and his daughter…McCleen adroitly combines cinematic momentum with intuitive description in this novel about the consequences of faith and what happens when we believe that we have the power to effectuate change.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

 

“[A] mind-bending, soul-stretching, gloriously realized debut…While end-of-time stories are faddish, UK writer Grace McCleen’s novel, The Land of Decoration, is one to heed. The first sentence sets the tone for this rapturous, daringly imaginative tale of love, loss, and salvation…”—Elle magazine

"This extraordinary tale of one little girl's End Times grabbed me by the throat. The Land of Decoration is part social observation and part crazy mysticism, held together by a brutally real story of parent-child love."—Emma Donoghue, author of Room

  “A tremendously affecting novel, skillfully and arrestingly written, and one that packs a big emotional punch.” —The Sunday Times (UK)

 

“British musician McCleen’s debut explores the complexities of love between a widowed father and his daughter…McCleen adroitly combines cinematic momentum with intuitive description in this novel about the consequences of faith and what happens when we believe that we have the power to effectuate change.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

 

“[A] mind-bending, soul-stretching, gloriously realized debut…While end-of-time stories are faddish, UK writer Grace McCleen’s novel, The Land of Decoration, is one to heed. The first sentence sets the tone for this rapturous, daringly imaginative tale of love, loss, and salvation…”—Elle magazine

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Grace McCleen

  • Grace McCleen studied English Literature at Oxford University and The University of York before becoming a full-time writer and musician. She lives in London. The Land of Decoration is her first novel.

  • Grace McCleen Tom York
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The Land of Decoration

A Novel

Grace McCleen

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Henry Holt and Co.

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