A beautiful, evocative novel with an amazing sense of place and an understated, dark sensibility. A brilliant debut. I loved it!
Beautifully written and deeply moving, THE BARROWFIELDS is a novel that centers on a man conflicted between his love of family and his devotion to literature. Phillip Lewis is a very talented writer, and his debut deserves a wide and appreciative readership.
THE BARROWFIELDS knows that the worst hauntings happen not in old houses but in troubled minds. The psychological landscape is craggy in this vivid update on Southern Gothic steeped in gorgeous vernacular and full of characters ready to walk off the page. A narrator cultivated from birth like a hothouse flower to redeem his father's thwarted ambitions finds the ruthless strength to escape the gravity of a doomed life, but at great cost. Revelations abound about family secrets as the dextrous narrative shifts between viscerally urgent and beautifully languorous. Lewis goes down to the depths and back up in this powerfully hopeful book, and the reader is helpless in his hands.
Stunning . . . rich in character and place, steeped in literature and music, and fraught with family drama. . . . With clear echoes of Poe and Wolfe, THE BARROWFIELDS also gives a nod to Richard Russo by reflecting an appreciation for the eccentricities of regional characters. . . . Lewis has put Old Buckram firmly on the map.
In this charming, absorbing, and assured debut novel, a young man tries to make sense of his father's life and the passions that unite them-namely, a devotion to literature and a rueful nostalgia for their Appalachian homeland. . . . Lewis evokes his settings beautifully, and his prose is bracingly erudite. This debut has the ability to fully immerse its readers.
Majestic and rich with the textures of life, Phillip Lewis's THE BARROWFIELDS is one of the great discoveries of the year. This is adebut so assured in its sense of place and history that it will leave you in awe of what Lewis has accomplished here: a sorrowful, beautiful ode to the bond of family, the ghosts that haunt us, and the stories that shape us.'
In his evocative debut about disenchantment and identity, Lewis captures the longing of a southerner separated from his home, his family, and his ambition... Like fellow North Carolinian Thomas Wolfe, Lewis tackles the conflicting choice between accepting one's roots and rejecting the past, and he does so with grace, wit, and an observant eye.
A novel this good is a rare thing. Elegiac and timeless, THE BARROWFIELDS is an unforgettable evocation of an American saga gone wrong. Reading it is like cracking open the tattered first edition of a classic you somehow missed but just pulled from your father's bookshelf.
A work of abundant talent