WHY: “A gripping saga.
“Set among the sweet-smelling tobacco fields of East Granby, Conn., Cole Callahan remembers his childhood home — where his parents and the Callahan children conducted unceasing restoration efforts, and where Cole’s father abused his mother, eventually killing her — as a locus of violence and thrumming fear.
“Now the owner of a construction business, Cole returns to town after 30 years of absence to gather materials for a project, only to discover his estranged father, whose grasp on reality has eroded, inhabiting the home, where he plays eerie melodies on the old upright piano. Cole stays, ostensibly to care for his father, and flies in his teenage son, Daniel, to work the tobacco fields for the summer. A tenuous peace is briefly forged, but soon tensions with several of East Granby residents (including Liz, an old girlfriend) ignite; when they combust one violent night, Cole is spurred to examine his childhood and come to grips with the truth of his mother’s murder.
“Scribner’s narrative draws out themes of masculinity, sublimated trauma, and physical violence — speaking to the ways people fashion narratives out of troubled pasts to survive, resulting in a probing, tightly-plotted novel.” –PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
“A bracing, knotty exploration of abuse and its impact across decades.”
“A dark rumination on domestic violence.”
–Brendan Driscoll, BOOKLIST
. . . . .
FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE BOOK:
He leaves home before dawn. Through the window of the train Mount Hood rises up, draped in moonlight and snow. Spectacular. Standing guard over the sleeping city. Then again, he thinks, it could blow any day. At the airport, security’s a breeze, so on the other side he sips a coffee over yesterday’s paper, picked from a heap by the lids and cream. As his plane ascends eastward a sunrise blooms in fast time, from night to morning in a minute. He sits back. Two blue eyes are watching him through the small space between the seats in front of him — the sleepy toddler he waved to before buckling in, traveling, he believes, on his grandmother’s lap. He leans forward, pointing out the window, mouthing “Look!” and the little boy presses his nose to the glass — a Band-Aid strapping his chin — and gapes at the orange-yellow sky and the bright, beautiful dawn they’re hurtling into.