‘When Loo was twelve years old her father taught her how to shoot a gun’
The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley is a novel, but by no means any ordinary novel, from American writer Hannah Tinti. Published by Tinder Press, I cannot begin to explain how excited I was to receive an advance copy.
Described by author Ann Patchett as ‘One part Tarantino, one part Sheherazade, and twelve parts wild innovation‘, this book is a must-read for all fans of a bloody marvellous read. I absolutely devoured this book!!
Please read on for my voluntary review of this fantastic read..
After years spent living on the run, Samuel Hawley moves with his teenage daughter, Loo, to Olympus, Massachusetts. There, in his late wife’s hometown, Hawley finds work as a fisherman, while Loo struggles to fit in at school and grows curious about her mother’s mysterious death.
Haunting them both are twelve scars Hawley carries on his body, from twelve bullets in his criminal past; a past that eventually spills over into his daughter’s present
Both a coming-of-age novel and a tale of redemption and revenge, The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley explores what it means to be a hero, and the cost we pay to protect the people we love most
Normally when I finish a book I leave it for awhile before I write a review. But with The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley I felt a very strong desire to spread the word fast about this outstanding read.
Samuel Hawley is a father trying to ‘protect his daughter from the legacy of a dangerous past’. Hannah Tinti brings us their story in this mesmerising portrayal of love, violence and tragedy. Now let me continue by saying that I am a huge fan of Luc Besson’s classic movie Leon with Jean Reno and Natalie Portman. Also,Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained with Jamie Foxx and the remarkable Christoph Waltz , is just a sensational movie. There are very high levels of violence in both these movies but yet it is done in a fashion that I was able to accept and see beyond for the story that lay beneath the surface.
The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley has it’s fair share of brutality and bloodshed. Each bullet Samuel takes is another turning point in his life. Each bullet has a story and a scar claiming another little piece of Samuel’s life. He survived a turbulent childhood but luck was never really on his side and the path of violence he chose ultimately resulted in a lifetime spent on the run.
All this changes for Samuel, when he finally faces up to his responsibilities and attempts to make right a few wrongs in his life. He now has his young daughter, Loo, to look after. After relocating many times, carrying the minimum that a life requires, Samuel and Loo finally settle in Olympus, Massachusetts. This is the hometown where, Lily, Samuel’s late wife, was from. Striving for acceptance in a community that is very set in its ways, Samuel and Loo struggle to keep their heads down.
As is the case with many of us, history soon catches up, and Samuel discovers that the past is very difficult to outrun.
Loo is portrayed as a fighter, a young girl used to fending for herself as she constantly moves to new schools. But it is in Olympus, that Loo finally develops and grows into herself. We follow her as she moves from a shy, self-conscious twelve-year old who suffers in silence to a tough, independent young lady of seventeen. Samuel, protectively watches on, always with an eye open to any threat that may befall them.
Loo has always known her father had a tale to tell. She has seen the twelve scars on her father’s body. Hannah Tinti provides the reader with an insight into Samuel’s story through chapters scattered throughout the book, with each chapter reflecting another bullet, interspersed with his life in the present.
The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley is a feat in writing. This is something very very different to anything I have ever read before. While I’m sure it would be classified as crime fiction, this really is so much more. It is a beautiful story of a father trying hard to amend for a past that will not let him go. It is a story of a young girl on a voyage of self-discovery as she tries to accept where she has come from and where she now wants to go.
The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley is a gripping, engrossing, magnificent read. It will drag you in without you even noticing as you find yourself rooting for people, that in the normal course of your life, you would run a mile from. This is a raw, at times harrowing tale of hope, love and forgiveness and ultimately a tale of acceptance and discovery.
I will be recommending this to EVERYONE!!
Purchase Link ~ The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley
Hannah Tinti was born in Massachusetts.
Her debut novel, The Good Thief, won the American Library Association’s Alex Award as well as The Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize, and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.
Hannah Tinti is also the author of the short story collection Animal Crackers, which was a runner-up for the PEN/Hemingway Award, and The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley, which will be published in March 2017.