Title: The Barrowfields
Author: Phillip Lewis
Publisher: Random House Group, Ltd
Publication Date: 2017
It is my understanding that this book is Phillip Lewis' first, and if that is true then I cannot wait for the second. I absolutely loved this book! The writing is superb , the character development spot on, and the writing is beautiful.
This is the story of Henry Aster, Sr and is told by his son Henry, Jr. Henry, Sr was born in a desolate, dreary little town deep in North Carolina called Old Buckram. The people of Old Buckram were poor and uneducated. Henry, Sr stood out like a sore thumb, because from a very early age he was smart and he was never seen without a book in his hand. Old Buckram was a place where most of the people could not read, and didn't even own a book. And, if they did own a book, it was the Bible. Henry, Sr. eventually went to college and became a lawyer, as well as a college professor. To give you a better perspective of the importance of books and education to Henry, Sr- he met his wife in the library. And the fact that she was first seen by him was in a library added to his excitement.
Henry, Sr and Eleonore moved to Old Buckram when Henry's mother became ill. Henry won a big case and earned enough money to buy an old abandoned house that sat on the side of a tall mountain. The house was surrounded by mystery. The man who had the old mansion built had a wife and three daughters, and when they moved in, people saw less and less of them. Eventually, someone went to the old house and dis covered the man and his wife had been shot to death and were still in the house. At first no one knew what became of the girls, but they were found shot dead and buried in shallow graves on the property. No one ever knew what had went on in that house or if the Dad had killed everyone and then himself, or if someone else murdered them all.
It was in this house that Henry, Sr and Eleonore started their family. Shortly after they moved in, Henry, Sr's mother died and this event would have a profound affect on Henry, Sr's life. They had three children, Henry, Jr was the oldest, Threnody was next, and later came Maddy. Maddy was unexpected, because they had not planned to have any more children after Threnody.. Maddy was also a very sick and frail child.
I fear giving too much away, so I will stop retelling the story and tell you how I feel about the story. The story is very intense and the reader feels what the characters are feeling. Phillip Lewis's writing is very powerful, but at the same time it is very beautiful. It is both beautiful and haunting simultaneously. It is the story of how time, love,stuggles and disappointments can be passed from one generation to the next. Here is one excerpt that I particularly liked: "Ignoring my concern, he put his nose into his glass and drew back his lips to show his vampire canines. Then he said, " If you ever think I have enough time to do that-I'll just pass the time today and make my art tomorrow," then you have already lost. Time has fooled you into thinking it exists."
I can't wait to see what Philip Lewis does with his next book!