Sam Hawley is a single dad with a mysterious past written across his body in gunshot scars. His teenage daughter Loo is an outsider, smart but disconnected, and struggling with her own capacity for violence. Together they settle down in the working-class fishing town where Loo's mom grew up, and where local hostilities over fishing rights conjure violent memories and ultimately violence itself. This is a gripping novel, with complex characters whose battles with time, love, and the notion of heroism had me glued to the page. Recommended By Rhianna W., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
A coming-of-age novel and a literary thrill ride about the price we pay to protect the people we love most.
"A father-daughter road trip you won’t soon forget." — Richard Russo
Samuel Hawley isn’t like the other fathers in Olympus, Massachusetts. A loner who spent years living on the run, he raised his beloved daughter, Loo, on the road, moving from motel to motel, always watching his back. Now that Loo’s a teenager, Hawley wants only to give her a normal life. In his late wife’s hometown, he finds work as a fisherman, while Loo struggles to fit in at the local high school.
Growing more and more curious about the mother she never knew, Loo begins to investigate. Soon, everywhere she turns, she encounters the mysteries of her parents’ lives before she was born. This hidden past is made all the more real by the twelve scars her father carries on his body. Each scar is from a bullet Hawley took over the course of his criminal career. Each is a memory: of another place on the map, another thrilling close call, another moment of love lost and found. As Loo uncovers a history that’s darker than she could have known, the demons of her father’s past spill over into the present — and together both Hawley and Loo must face a reckoning yet to come.
"The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley is utterly magnificent — gripping, suspenseful, funny, and so full of heart. Young Loo and her father are contemporary characters with the stature and magnetism of the great heroes of literature. The reader in me was racing through to find out what would befall them, while the writer, awestruck by Hannah Tinti’s powerful storytelling, was desperately trying to slow down. This is a book I will return to again and again, for sheer pleasure and to learn how it is done." Ruth Ozeki, author of A Tale for the Time Being
"What Hannah Tinti knows about fathers, daughters, and time could, as they say, fill a book — and truly does. The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley is bold, exciting, and original." Meg Wolitzer, author of The Interestings
"The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley is one part Quentin Tarantino, one part Scheherazade, and twelve parts wild innovation. Hannah Tinti proves herself to be an old-fashioned storyteller of the highest order." Ann Patchett, author of Commonwealth
"Seamlessly transposing classical myth into a quintessentially American landscape and marrying taut suspense with dreamy lyricism, [Hannah] Tinti’s beautifully intricate second novel is well worth the wait.... Tinti’s imagery evokes time, space, the sea, and the myth of Heracles without losing the narrative’s sure grounding in American communities and culture. This is a convincingly redemptive and celebratory novel: an affirmation of the way that heroism and human fallibility coexist, of how good parenting comes in unexpected packages, and of the way that we are marked by our encounters with each other and the luminous universe in which we dwell." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"[An] atmospheric, complexly suspenseful saga... with life or death struggles in dramatic settings... and starring a fiercely loving, reluctant criminal and a girl of grit and wonder... a breathtaking novel of violence and tenderness." Booklist (Starred Review)
About the Author
Hannah Tinti grew up in Salem, Massachusetts. Her short story collection Animal Crackers was a runner-up for the PEN/Hemingway Award. Her bestselling novel The Good Thief won the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and an American Library Association Alex Award, and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Tinti is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of the award-winning literary magazine One Story.
Hannah Tinti on PowellsBooks.Blog
Part coming-of-age story, part literary thriller, The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley
is a father-daughter story that explores what it means to be a hero, and the cost we pay to protect the people we love most. After years spent living on the run, Samuel Hawley moves with his teenage daughter, Loo, to Olympus, Massachusetts...