Old Newgate Road: A novel (Hardcover)

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From the author of The Oregon Experiment, the story of a father's return to his childhood home, the site of unspeakable tragedy, and of the complex and often warring obligations--not least forgiveness--we have to our family, our friends, and our past.

Old Newgate Road runs through the tobacco fields of northern Connecticut that once drove the local economy. It's where Cole Callahan spent his youth, in a historic white colonial that his family was devoted to restoring--painstakingly, relentlessly, pointlessly. But the famous claim that you can't go home again falls far short in this instance. Cole has not come back to this house, to this street, in thirty years--not since he was a teenager, when one night his father murdered his mother in a fit of rage. Now, however, he finally dares to risk it, ostensibly to collect precious material for his construction business on the west coast, and is shocked to discover his elderly father, freed from prison, living alone in their old home, and succumbing to dementia. Compelled by a sense of responsibility to a man he hates, and confronted in middle age by everything he'd left unfinished when he fled this place in his aborted childhood, he finds that the time for a reckoning has at last come.

Matters grow even more complicated when his estranged wife calls to say their ultra-progressive, rabble-rousing son has run up against the law and been expelled from high school. And so Cole summons Daniel to East Granby to work in the tobacco fields--his own job growing up--and soon their lives are enmeshed with the family legacy, and with Cole's boyhood sweetheart as well as his nemesis. What unfolds over this summer surprises and challenges them all, as they contend with the sinister history they share and desperately try to invent a future that isn't doomed by it.

Moving, insightful, and suspenseful, Old Newgate Road is a masterful portrait of a haunted family and successive generations of men struggling against all odds and often violent impulses to truly know one another and their loved ones, and to somehow come to terms with themselves.

About the Author


KEITH SCRIBNER grew up in Troy, New York, and then East Granby, Connecticut. His previous novels are The Oregon Experiment, Miracle Girl, and The GoodLife, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. He currently teaches at Oregon State University in Corvallis, where he lives with his wife, the poet Jennifer Richter, and their children.

Praise For…


Old Newgate Road is very much about abuse: its sway over time, its resilience over the years and its power over us to delude ourselves. Yet Keith Scribner also reminds us that salvaging a life . . . ‘doesn’t happen in an instant — it’s not a simple decision, but an accumulation of generous acts, of kindness and taking care.’”—Steven Whitton, The Anniston Star
 
“With extraordinary tact [and] alive with activity . . . vivid, memorable . . . [an] affecting novel about taking steps to move on from trauma.”—Claire Hopley, Washington Times
 
“Events and emotions long buried are unearthed, a home and childhood filled with rage, fear, violence and trauma are explored. Old Newgate Road shows us that one can escape from a broken home, but the shackles of abuse remain tightly in place.”—Albie Yuravich, Connecticut Magazine
 
Old Newgate Road is a complex and introspective account of one family's plight of abuse and heartbreak that plagues each member for decades. Is there a possibility that long ago hurts can be mended and existing ones healed? Highly emotional, this novel offers much food for thought.”—Nancy Carty Lepri, New York Journal of Books
 
“With psychological insight and a layer of suspense, Scribner artfully illuminates his hero balancing fiercely ambivalent feelings about his father with his own domestic problems involving his estranged wife and defiant teen-age son in Portland, Oregon.”—The National Book Review

Old Newgate Road is a wonder—a book that manages to break your heart on one page and lift you up on the next. It’s a wrenching meditation on time and forgiveness, filled with both suspense and tragedy, while presenting the possibility of renewal and redemption.”—Ivy Pochoda 

“A bracing, knotty exploration of abuse and its impact across decades. . . . Scribner writes beautifully about [these] hills and tobacco fields, with grace and a fine eye for detail. The novel’s real turf, though, is the bleak emotional territory of abuse, and [here he] writes with brutal intensity . . . drilling deeper into ever darker material [until ending] on a redemptive note.”—Kirkus 

“This gripping saga draws out themes of masculinity, sublimated trauma, and physical violence-- speaking to the ways people fashion narratives out of troubled pasts to survive, resulting in a probing, tightly-plotted novel.”—Publishers Weekly

Old Newgate Road is a complex and introspective account of one family's plight of abuse and heartbreak that plagues each member for decades. Is there a possibility that long ago hurts can be mended and existing ones healed? Highly emotional, this novel offers much food for thought.”—Nancy Carty Lepri, New York Journal of Books
 
“With psychological insight and a layer of suspense, Scribner artfully illuminates his hero balancing fiercely ambivalent feelings about his father with his own domestic problems involving his estranged wife and defiant teen-age son in Portland, Oregon.”—The National Book Review


Product Details
ISBN: 9780525521792
ISBN-10: 0525521798
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: January 8th, 2019
Pages: 320
Language: English