This book goes all over the place — Georgia, Germany, Coney Island, New Hampshire, France, and back again — looping around two families, black and white, across five decades. The result is a stunning novel that grabs hold of big questions and doesn't let go: What does it mean to be a family? Can you outrun the past, and should you try? Who gets to belong in this messed-up, beautiful country we call America? Recommended By Tim B., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
“American history comes to vivid, engaging life in this tale of two interconnected families (one white, one black) that spans from the 1950s to Barack Obama’s first year as president....The complex, beautifully drawn characters are unique and indelible.” — Entertainment Weekly
“An astoundingly audacious debut.” — O: The Oprah Magazine
“A gorgeous generational saga.” — New York Post
Meet James Samuel Vincent, an affluent Manhattan attorney who shirks his modest Irish American background but hews to his father’s meandering ways. James muddles through a topsy-turvy relationship with his son, Rufus, which is further complicated when Rufus marries Claudia Christie.
Claudia’s mother — Agnes Miller Christie — is a beautiful African American woman who survives a chance encounter on a Georgia road that propels her into a new life in the Bronx. Soon after, her husband, Eddie Christie, is called to duty on an air craft carrier in Vietnam, where Tom Stoppard’s play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead becomes Eddie’s life anchor, as he grapples with mounting racial tensions on the ship and counts the days until he will see Agnes again.
These unforgettable characters’ lives intersect with a cast of lovers and friends — the unapologetic black lesbian who finds her groove in 1970s Berlin; a moving man stranded in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, during a Thanksgiving storm; two half-brothers who meet as adults in a crayon factory; and a Coney Island waitress whose Prince Charming is too good to be true.
With piercing humor, exacting dialogue, and a beautiful sense of place, Regina Porter’s debut is both an intimate family portrait and a sweeping exploration of what it means to be American today.
“Porter’s electric debut is a sprawling saga that follows two interconnected American families....Readers will certainly be drawn in by Porter’s sharp writing and kept hooked by the black-and-white photographs interspersed throughout the book, which give faces to the evocative voices.” Booklist
“Porter’s fantastic debut novel is a whirl of characters spidering outward through time and space....Beautifully written and intricately plotted.” Kirkus Reviews
“The Travelers is unlike anything I’ve ever read....Each character’s perspective is rendered with such intimacy and spirit that it is a jarring pleasure to encounter them again through the eyes of their children or lovers, illuminating just how little we know of the fullness of the inner lives of our loved ones, or of the legacies we inherit.” Fatima Farheen Mirza, author of A Place for Us
About the Author
Regina Porter is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was an Iowa Arts Fellow and recipient of a 2017-2018 Rae Armour West Postgraduate Scholarship. She is also a 2017 Tin House Summer Workshop Scholar. Her fiction has been published in The Harvard Review. An award-winning writer with a background in playwriting, Porter has worked with Playwrights Horizons, the Joseph Papp Theater, New York Stage and Film, the Women’s Project, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, and Horizon Theatre Company. She has been anthologized in Plays From Woolly Mammoth by Broadway Play Services and Heinemann’s Scenes for Women by Women. She has also been profiled in Southern Women Playwrights: New Essays in History and Criticism from the University of Alabama Press. Porter was born in Savannah, Georgia, and lives in Brooklyn.
Regina Porter on PowellsBooks.Blog
People travel in different ways. Travel itself can be a respite, a vacation, a hot day on the beach swimming and staring at the horizon, or a quiet night at home reflecting on one’s past...