Eric Alwin has gone to visit his father, once a commanding and charismatic Maryland senator who has seen his reputation soured – and his family broken – by a sex scandal. Realizing his own unfaithfulness and dissatisfaction with his career and marriage seem to be a continuation of a family pattern, Eric is astonished to find his father proposing a bold expedition through the Deep South and the American heartland. The ensuing trip becomes both a journey into the emotional truth of the Alwin family and a breakthrough into a new kind of resilience and understanding. Along the way, Eric will know anew not only his mother and sisters, but his own wife and son. As he discovers the surprising secret behind the scandal that defined his father’s fate, he will also realize what he must do to shape a more authentic life for himself.
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“[One of] the years most distinguished books.’ – Critic’s Picks, The Washington Post
“American literary fiction offers far fewer pleasures than it did a few decades ago, but the novels and short stories of Christopher Tilghman go a long way toward making up for the failures of other writers. . . . [He] writes about subjects that really matter in elegant, measured prose. . . . Tilghman deals in truths, and he’s drawn to hard ones.” – Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post Book World
“An extraordinary tale of life’s journeys, the right and wrong paths we take, and the ways we might – or might not – ever be able to make amends, to seek redemption . . . so consistently compelling that it almost demands to be read in a single sitting.” – Richmond Times-Dispatch
“Wise, tender, and illuminating, this book delivers on many kevels, and lingers in the mind long after it has been closed.” – Roxana Robinson
“A richly imagined, beautifully written, deeply affecting novel” – Margot Livesey