The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley is one part Quentin Tarantino, one part Scheherazade, and twelve parts wild innovation. Hannah Tinti proves herself to be an old-fashioned storyteller of the highest order. (Ann Patchett)
After reading Patchett's blurb, I couldn't help but imagine Tinti's novel on the big screen. With twelve bullet wounds, it's obviously a violent tale and yet it's a tender love story--a love between father and daughter, husband and wife, and two life-long friends.
I've grown tired of dual timelines, but the structure of this novel flowed seamlessly and I'm glad I resisted the temptation to read Hawley's chapters first. I remained patient and let the details unfold as the author intended.
I could have easily finished the book much more quickly than the two weeks it took to complete, but I wanted to savor the writing and didn't want to rush to the unpredictable finale. I spent all two weeks gushing about the novel to my husband, hoping he would not only read it but love it as much as I did. It's one that I can't wait to discuss, especially after reading the exclusive conversation between Hannah Tinti and Karen Russell, which is included at the end of the book. In some ways, I wish I had read that extra material first, as it reveals some insight to certain themes and connections, many of which I did not notice until they were pointed out! For instance,
I took the structure of Hercules's myth and used it as a framework for Hawley. The number twelve also became important, not only because of its connection to clocks and the recording of time, but also because it set a challenge for me as a writer. How could I make a man get shot twelve times, and the reader know that he is going to get shot, and still make each episode feel unique and surprising, even though the reader knows what is coming? I spent six years working that out. And over those years I fell for Samuel Hawley, who, despite all of his flaws and violent tendencies, is driven by the need to cure his own loneliness. He is on a desperate search for love. (Hannah Tinti)
This literary work is not one I've heard much about in the blogosphere, which is a shame because I think it's one of the best books I've read in years. I'm very stingy with my 5-star ratings, but I didn't hesitate when it came time to make that determination. I know this is one I will read a second time, but I'm also excited to order a copy of The Good Thief. If it's half as good as The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley, it's sure to be winner.
Highly recommend! I only regret that I didn't read it while I was still working at B&N. This is one I could have easily hand-sold over a hundred copies!