It’s taken longer than it should have, but last week I read The Barrowfields by the new author, Phillip Lewis.
The book starts out a little slow, but once you immerse yourself in the story, and that becomes easier to do with each passing page, Lewis takes hold of you with his quality, rich characters.
I enjoyed this book and will read it again. There are few on the New York Times Bestseller List I would say that about. It seems of late the publishing industry is all about a bang for the buck that lasts three weeks and no more. My pen-pal, Amor Towles, currently on the list for 32 weeks with A Gentleman in Moscow, remains there because his book is of substance. Something someone will want to read again.
The Barrowfields is of that same ilk
Lewis blends a rich knowledge of literature, books and North Carolina lore together for a superb recipe of a tale. He takes us through his father’s courtship of his mother and the relationship with his grandparents. Then we see the main character seek to recover from the events of home that linger. He seeks to escape his past but like none of us, is able to do so. It comes racing back into his life and he is compelled to deal with it.
I am an active reader so there are a few lines from the book I underlined as I read.
A beguiling optimism is often the first step toward folly. Page 29
“I write, because it’s one of the only things that seems real to me. It’s the only way short of death to make time stop.” This was not a simplified explanation for a ten-year-old. This was his truth. Page 45
As a fellow writer, I understand the perspective of Henry Aster’s father about writing.
And I so much would like to meet a woman as grounded as Story. She was a dear and though she herself is dealing with her own familial emotional baggage, she makes the story come alive and enjoyable.
I encourage you to find the book and give it a read. It is one you won’t want to take to Half Priced Books in a three weeks along with your current Grisham, Clancy, Patterson, Steele and the like. No, you’ll want to keep this with your Towles and Lees and Patchetts.
This book also helped me with my writing. The language is rich and colorful and immersive. I look forward to the next book by Phillip Lewis.
“I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”