Mr. Splitfoot is one of those rare books in which both the language and the story take center stage. I was hooked by the remarkable prose and then compelled by the inventive plot and the (somewhat literally) fantastic characters. It is a beautiful, funny, bizarre, and wholly original tale that manages to incorporate love, death, motherhood, séances, and ghost activism. Recommended By Jill O., Powells.com
I’d suggest clearing your schedule before beginning this book. It will not let you go. Recommended By Britt A., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
A contemporary gothic from an author in the company of Kelly Link and Aimee Bender, Mr. Splitfoot tracks two women in two times as they march toward a mysterious reckoning.
Ruth and Nat are orphans, packed into a house full of abandoned children run by a religious fanatic. To entertain their siblings, they channel the dead. Decades later, Ruth’s niece, Cora, finds herself accidentally pregnant. After years of absence, Aunt Ruth appears, mute and full of intention. She is on a mysterious mission, leading Cora on an odyssey across the entire state of New York on foot. Where is Ruth taking them? Where has she been? And who — or what — has she hidden in the woods at the end of the road?
In an ingeniously structured dual narrative, two separate timelines move toward the same point of crisis. Their merging will upend and reinvent the whole. A subversive ghost story that is carefully plotted and elegantly constructed, Mr. Splitfoot will set your heart racing and your brain churning. Mysteries abound, criminals roam free, utopian communities show their age, the mundane world intrudes on the supernatural and vice versa.
Making good on the extraordinary acclaim for her previous books, Samantha Hunt continues to be “dazzling” (Vanity Fair) and to deliver fiction that is “daring and delicious” (Chicago Tribune).
"A truly fantastic novel in which the blurring of natural and supernatural creates a stirring, visceral conclusion." Kirkus Reviews, starred
“Ethereal...The book deftly straddles the slippery line between fantasy and reality in a story that’s both gripping and wonderfully mystifying...[I]nterconnected chapters builds suspense while keeping readers guessing about what crazy turn might happen next. Hints of what’s in store for readers include a cult of Etherists, a noseless man, a pile of lost money, and a scar-like pattern of meteorite landings. This spellbinder is storytelling at its best.” Publishers Weekly, starred
“Mr. Splitfoot is lyrical, echoing, deeply strange, with a quality of sustained hallucination. It is the best book on communicating with the dead since William Lindsay Gresham's Nightmare Alley, but it swaps out that novel's cynicism for a more life-affirming sense of uncertainty.” Luc Sante, author of Low Life and many others
“Part road trip, part gothic, Mr. Splitfoot belongs on the shelf beside The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle. Samantha Hunt is astonishing. Her every sentence electrifies. Her characters demand our closest attention. Her new book contains everything that I want in a novel. If I could long-distance mesmerize you, dear reader, into picking up this book and buying it and reading it at once, believe me: I would.” Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble, Magic for Beginners, and many others
A contemporary gothic from an author in the company of Kelly Link and Aimee Bender, Mr. Splitfoot tracks two women—Ruth (a scam-artist foster kid), and, decades later, Cora (her pregnant niece)—as they march, each in her own time, toward a mysterious reckoning.
About the Author
SAMANTHA HUNT’s novel about Nikola Tesla, The Invention of Everything Else, was a finalist for the Orange Prize and winner of the Bard Fiction Prize. Her first novel, The Seas, won the National Book Foundation's Five Under Thirty-Five prize. Hunt’s work has been published in The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, the New York Times, Tin House, A Public Space, Cabinet, Blind Spot, the London Times and in a number of other fine publications. Her books have been translated into ten languages. She has performed with Jim Jarmusch and Luc Sante at All Tomorrow’s Parties, at Los Angeles’s Hammer Museum and REDCAT, with the National Theater of the United States of America (NTUSA) at PS122, in the PEN/Faulkner Reading Series, at Seattle’s Bumbershoot Festival, and as part of BAM’s Next Wave Festival. Her work has been performed on This American Life and on WNYC's Selected Shorts program. She lives in Tivoli, New York, and teaches at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.
Samantha Hunt on PowellsBooks.Blog
I grew up in a very lively and often drunk household full of fantastic storytellers. No one ever allowed the truth to get in the way of a good story.