Synopses & Reviews
A recently-widowed doctor, stunned by grief, retreats to a cabin on Montana's Rocky Mountain Front. Inside she has a puppy and a stack of letters from an old lover. Outside, there's a bear. As she revisits the letters from Tom Connor, we come to see, through his eyes, the dusty, broken alleys of Central America during the war years. The two narratives taken together explore themes of life-long love, about what we can see only when we are ready to see, and how hope can grow in the darkest of places. The third in what the author sees as his "homecoming trilogy" (after Hunger in American
and Ben Armstrong's Strange Trip Home
), Tom Connor's Gift
shines a light on the transformative act of storytelling itself, and is destined to be received as one of the most important novels of the year.
David Allan Cates's Tom Connor's Gift is extraordinary. The prose is ravishing, the characters are surprising and irresistible, and many of its scenes are so intensely moving that they bring tears of gratitude and pleasure. The book praises long marriage and long friendship, but what I especially appreciate about its vision is how sexually liberating it is for both men and women. Cates is a fierce and fearless writer One finishes this novel feeling wiser, more alive, and spiritually refreshed.
Sadness and madness, grief and delirium. Tom Connor's Gift delivers us precious monsters: our first true love and our true lasting love. Coursing between anecdote and musing, this is a novel only grownups can understand. It is smart and ecstatic and will break your goddamn heart.
Bryan Di Salvatore
David Allan Cates evokes the human heart out of the landscape, blending the two with so much subtlety and skill that the very world in this novel shimmers with yearning. Tom Connor is as complex and fascinating a character as I have read in contemporary fiction, and Cates has an uncanny ability to evoke the beautiful and terrifying, the feverish and gritty Central American world Connor travels through. Tom Connor's Gift is a journey into the heart of two continents-and the continent of the human heart-an exploration of dissolution and loyalty, naivet and cynicism, grief and renewal. In this novel, they all find their place.
Tom Connor's Gift is the gift we all seek, the gift of love in the face of grief, violence, loss, and heartbreak. In a deeply felt and vividly told story, David Cates connects the interior lives of a farm woman in the wilderness grieving her husband's death and her long-lost lover-a wandering man torn by the beauties and terrors of Central America.
Tom Connor's Gift is a fearless and instructive odyssey into the rustic places of the heart that still baffle and dictate our lives.
Tom Connor's Gift is a gift all right-hilarious and moving-a two for one: two voices, two stories, two struggles to come to terms with love and longing, in prose that is vivid, urgent, brave, and true.
Put a widow in a cabin at the edge of Montana's Rocky Mountain Front with nothing but memories and a marauding bear outside to keep her company and what do you get? A tenderly-told tale of grief, recovery, and a message of love from the past. David Allan Cates's Tom Connor's Gift is indeed a gift to readers looking for a novel that will ask them to slow down and think about questions like "How do we endure suffering? And how-when life has flung us far and wide-how do we get home again?"
Tom Connor's Gift is a wonderful book, standing on its tiptoes, stretching out its fingers to brush against a magical realism that is transformative.