Author(s): Phillip Lewis
Mesmeric in its prose and mythic in its sweep, THE BARROWFIELDS is an extraordinary debut about the darker side of devotion, the limits of forgiveness, and the reparative power of shared pasts. In the remote, mountainous landscape of North Carolina, Henry Aster grows up in the shadow of his eccentric father, a lawyer and frustrated novelist who has chosen to raise his family a gothic mansion - nicknamed 'the vulture house' - worthy of his hero Edgar Allen Poe. Shortly after a tragic family incident, Henry's father disappears into the hills, an incident we only truly understand in the final pages of the novel. As Henry grows up he wants to escape his family, and their house on The Barrowfields, the empty stretch of land in the mountains where nothing has ever been known to grow. However, just like his father, Henry finds himself at law school, where he falls in love for the first time with a girl called Story. As Henry comes of age, he is ultimately drawn back to his family to reconcile his relationship with his surviving sister and the ghosts of his past.
A beautiful, evocative novel with an amazing sense of place and an understated, dark sensibility. A brilliant debut. I loved it! Jenni Fagan, author of The Panopticon A novel this good is a rare thing. Elegiac and timeless, THE BARROWFIELDS is an unforgettable evocation of an American saga gone wrong. Reading it is like cracking open the tattered first edition of a classic you somehow missed but just pulled from your father's bookshelf. David Gilbert, author of & Sons THE BARROWFIELDS knows that the worst hauntings happen not in old houses but in troubled minds. The psychological landscape is craggy in this vivid update on Southern Gothic steeped in gorgeous vernacular and full of characters ready to walk off the page. A narrator cultivated from birth like a hothouse flower to redeem his father's thwarted ambitions finds the ruthless strength to escape the gravity of a doomed life, but at great cost. Revelations abound about family secrets as the dextrous narrative shifts between viscerally urgent and beautifully languorous. Lewis goes down to the depths and back up in this powerfully hopeful book, and the reader is helpless in his hands. Matthew Thomas, author of We Are Not Ourselves Majestic and rich with the textures of life, Phillip Lewis's THE BARROWFIELDS is one of the great discoveries of the year. This is adebut so assured in its sense of place and history that it will leave you in awe of what Lewis has accomplished here: a sorrowful, beautiful ode to the bond of family, the ghosts that haunt us, and the stories that shape us.' Paul Yoon, author of Snow Hunters Beautifully written and deeply moving, THE BARROWFIELDS is a novel that centers on a man conflicted between his love of family and his devotion to literature. Phillip Lewis is a very talented writer, and his debut deserves a wide and appreciative readership. Ron Rash, New York Times bestselling author of Serena and Above the Waterfall
Phillip Lewis is a writer living in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Barrowfields is his first novel.