The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley

A Novel

Book - 2018
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"A gripping American-on-the-run thriller . . . a brilliant coming-of-age tale and a touching exploration of father-daughter relationships."-- Newsweek

"One part Quentin Tarantino, one part Scheherazade, and twelve parts wild innovation."--Ann Patchett, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Commonwealth


Samuel Hawley isn't like the other fathers in Olympus, Massachusetts. A loner who spent years living on the run, he raised his beloved daughter, Loo, on the road, moving from motel to motel, always watching his back. Now that Loo's a teenager, Hawley wants only to give her a normal life. In his late wife's hometown, he finds work as a fisherman, while Loo struggles to fit in at the local high school.

Growing more and more curious about the mother she never knew, Loo begins to investigate. Soon, everywhere she turns, she encounters the mysteries of her parents' lives before she was born. This hidden past is made all the more real by the twelve scars her father carries on his body. Each scar is from a bullet Hawley took over the course of his criminal career. Each is a memory: of another place on the map, another thrilling close call, another moment of love lost and found. As Loo uncovers a history that's darker than she could have known, the demons of her father's past spill over into the present--and together both Hawley and Loo must face a reckoning yet to come.

Praise for The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley

"A master class in literary suspense." -- The Washington Post

"Tinti depicts brutality and compassion with exquisite sensitivity, creating a powerful overlay of love and pain." -- The New Yorker

"Hannah Tinti's beautifully constructed second novel . . . uses the scars on Hawley's body--all twelve bullet wounds, one by one--to show who he is, what he's done, and why the past chases and clings to him with such tenacity." -- The Boston Globe

" The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley is an adventure epic with the deeper resonance of myth. . . . Tinti exhibits an aptitude for shining a piercing light into the corners of her characters' hearts and minds." -- O: The Oprah Magazine
Publisher: New York : The Dial Press, 2018, c2017
Edition: Dial Press trade paperback ed
ISBN: 9780812989908
Branch Call Number: TIN
Characteristics: 387 p. ;,21 cm
Alternative Title: 12 lives of Samuel Hawley


From Library Staff

June 6 - fathers & the relationships with their kids

Explores the complexities of a father-daughter relationship.

March pick

From the critics

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Oct 02, 2018

Book Group Read - Not something I would normally pick up, but it does go at a good clip and the characters are interesting.

Jul 19, 2018

I'm clearly out of step with many readers on this one. The father-daughter angle drew me in. But then I discovered it's mostly about the great American dream (not that old chestnut about middle-class prosperity etc.; no, it's the dream of owning more guns than anyone else. Why bring one gun to a fight when you can have a whole bag full, with various configurations and firepower?)
This fellow learned an important life lesson at sixteen: When you break into someone's house, there's a fair chance he might shoot you. Next time, bring your own gun -- it's the one simple solution to all of life's little problems. He's a hero because he has twelve bullet wounds and is still alive.
So what's the point? The story line "outcast, bullied daughter fights back" had potential but it never went anywhere. How about "Lonely, disillusioned gunfighter seeks redemption"? But for that to work, I would have to care about this dude. But I don't.
Sorry, this one was not for me.

Jun 25, 2018

“The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley” by Hannah Tinti, could have provided an interesting perspective into the criminal man, turned into a bitter memoir of the titular character. The pacing of the novel was excruciating; it would have been easier to skip most of the book and still partly enjoyed enjoy the climax. Thankfully the the climax of the novel and the true flaws in the characters make the book somewhat interesting. Otherwise, the plot was lackluster, the descriptions hard to endure and the repetitiveness of the mistakes made by the characters seemed to dull out any redeeming qualities the characters had. The worst part of the novel was the ending; it’s lack of answers made it seem pointless to read the whole story.
As for the narration, Elizabeth Wiley’s voice provided to be ill-suited for the role. Women were given a nasaly quality when they spoke and children appeared more whiny than youthful. She did do a good job representing shortness of breath and urgency in the dialogue but otherwise was a poor choice for this novel. The Twelve Lives of Samuel Halwey’s only redeeming quality is that it makes a good character study book, otherwise it is a disappointing read.

Mar 21, 2018

"Everything breaks if you hit it hard enough."
This third book from Hannah Tinti is intense and raw, like a wound that won't quite heal and you just keep poking at it. Ewww. Hawley, a drifter with a dark, criminal past, and his daughter Loo arrive in a small New England fishing village and try to make a fresh start. But if you've ever read a book before, you know that's not going to happen. The narrative alternates between the present and Hawley's story. Each of his 12 bullet scars (hence the title) gets a chapter. I found Loo far more compelling and thought 12 bullets was maybe 3 or 4 too many. Tinti pitches camp in the gritty, dirty realism school of Carver, Russo, and Dubus, but adds more of a James Lee Burke-like thriller element. A striking read, at the very least.

Jan 17, 2018

Desire large print. Mountain park librar. rge print.
Thank you
Kathy Kline, 404-213-1448
All small case Kathy

Jan 08, 2018

I didn't like this book-thought that the father was totally irresponsible, child endangerment: one thing to live your life on the edge, don't bring a child into it

Dec 02, 2017

A widower with a violent criminal past moves into a small Maine fishing town hoping to establish a safe space for his daughter, who gradually learns the stories behind her father's 12 bullet scars. Wash Post 2017 Summer Reading List

sugarmountain Aug 18, 2017

While waiting for any of my holds to arrive, I checked out this title in the meantime. A quirky plot, yet held my attention right from the beginning. Recommended.

ArapahoeAnnaL Jun 26, 2017

Is he a sociopath or a loving father? Can a person be both?

This is a compelling, literary novel that deserves all the accolades it has received!

Jun 23, 2017

Really? A twelve year old girl puts rocks in her fathers sock, bashes her classmates in the face with it, then kicks them with her steel-toed boots? And in consequence, the principal makes her father and theirs join a club together? Yeah, I don't think so, but thanks anyway.

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