Monday, June 12, 2017

Review: The Barrowfields by Phillip Lewis


The Barrowfields is a richly textured, deeply transporting novel that traces the fates and ambitions of a father and son across the decades, centered in the small Appalachian town that simultaneously defines them and drives them both away.

Just before Henry Aster’s birth, his father—outsized literary ambition and pregnant wife in tow—reluctantly returns to the remote North Carolina town in which he was raised and installs his young family in an immense house of iron and glass perched high on the side of a mountain. There, Henry and his younger sister grow up in thrall to their fiercely brilliant, obsessive father, who spends his days as a lawyer in town and his nights writing in his library. But when tragedy tips his father toward a fearsome unraveling, Henry’s youthful reverence is poisoned and he flees, resolving never to return.

During his time away at college and then law school, Henry meets a young woman whose own family past is shrouded in mystery and who helps him grapple with his father’s haunting legacy. He begins to realize that, try as he might, he’ll never truly escape the place he sought to leave behind, and that he, too, must go home again.

Mythic in its sweep and mesmeric in its prose, The Barrowfields is a breathtaking novel that explores the darker side of devotion, the limits of forgiveness, and the reparative power of shared pasts.

My Review:

5 Stars

Returning with a pregnant wife to the small Appalachian town he grew up in, Henry is determined to write a book. He moves his family into a spooky, gothic house perched on a hill overlooking Old Buckram. A house with a tragic past, which only seems to bring more tragedy as the years progress.

Then, Henry disappears one rainy night, never to be seen again. Leaving his wife to raise their two children, young Henry and Threnody, on her own. Until Young Henry leaves for college. Returning later in life, we finally learn the fate of his father. A beautifully written story of family, love, and loss.

About the Author:

Phillip Lewis



Phillip Lewis was born and raised in the mountains of North Carolina. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law, where he served as editor in chief of the Campbell Law Review. He now lives in Charlotte. THE BARROWFIELDS is his first novel.