Ireland. A home. A childhood.
For generations, the Campbells have lived happily at Dulough, an idyllic, rambling estate on the windswept coast of Ireland. But upkeep has drained the family coffers. Faced with the heartbreaking possibility of having to sell, John Campbell makes a very difficult decision; to keep Dulough he will turn the estate into a tourist attraction. He and his wife, daughter and son will move from the luxury of the big house to a small, damp caretaker's cottage. The upheaval strains the already tenuous threads that bind the family, and when a tragic accident befalls them, long-simmering resentments and unanswered yearnings are forced to the surface.
As each character is given a turn to speak, their voices tell a complex and fascinating story about what happens when the upstairs becomes the downstairs, and the legacy that remains when family secrets are revealed.
Johanna Lane was born in Ireland and studied English Literature at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, where she was awarded the Hemingway Prize for her short fiction, and then attended Columbia`s Creative Writing MFA programme. Her first novel, BLACK LAKE, was short-listed for the University of East Anglia's Charles Pick Fellowship. She teaches composition and creative writing in New York.
'Beautifully written debut' — Fabulous Magazine, Sun on Sunday
'Johanna Lane writes in an easy melodic style and she shows a real talent for understanding the separate sorrows and secret dreams that simmer beneath the surface of even the closest families' — Daily Mail
'An elegantly written story' — Irish Mail on Sunday
'Lane's prose is graceful, textured and her elegant style reflects the Campbells' glazed retrograde world' — Irish Independent
'What won me over was the touching depiction of the two children' — Woman & Home
'A beautifully atmospheric and poignant debut' — Bella magazine
'I found I could not put this book down' — Woman's Way
This ultimately becomes a story of the importance of home, whatever its history, told in highly lyrical prose' — Image magazine
'A poignant and haunting tale that really resonates' — Evening Echo
'A haunting debut' — Publishers Weekly
In BLACK LAKE Johanna Lane accomplishes the nearly miraculous: she paints the world of her story with such care and skill that, before you know it, it will feel more real than your own. And you won't want to leave it. In Lane's hands the smallest details bloom with meaning, the quietest moments resonate with the power of truth. They make this novel big. It takes on the largest of themes, the thunder-clap moments of life, wresting from them a wisdom rare in any writing, and simply remarkable in a debut. Bit by gentle bit, this beautiful book will break your heart — Josh Weil, author of THE NEW VALLEY
I cannot tell you how moved I was by BLACK LAKE... It was so beautifully written. Again and again I was caught up by the precise but unpretentious prose. I believed this story because of the voice, the voices, the details, the familiar yet strange things of these people's lives... Lane conveys without any mawkishness the loss of this lovely place in the lives of this family, and the loss in all our lives of a childhood place wherever and whatever it was... — Sheila Kohler, author of BECOMING JANE EYRE
Johanna Lane's lovely novel is jeweled with shrewd insights into childhood and the way people relate to habitation and place. It's a book to admire and immerse yourself in — Amit Chaudhuri, author of THE IMMORTALS
In this beautiful portrait of a family faced with unbearable loss, Lane reveals, not only what slips between the cracks in everyday communication, but also the secret loves and longings we all harbor, even if we never allow our hearts to speak, or our minds to dwell upon, what we need to say and hear, in order to continue as whole and undamaged spirits...a very, very good novel — John Burnside, author of THE GLISTER
A lush, beguiling beauty, like the Ireland of its setting. Novels like this one don't get written very often; when they do we remember why we love novels in the first place — Elisa Albert, author of THE BOOK OF DAHLIA