Hannah Tinti (The Good Thief) delivers a father-daughter saga with a twist.
We meet Samuel at the beginning of the book – he is a truck driver and takes his daughter Loo everywhere with him. Loo loves her life with her father. When Sam realizes that she is too isolated, he moves back to where he lived with his wife (Loo’s mother who died when she was young). Sam takes up fishing for a living and puts Loo in school.
Loo experiences ridicule and physical punishment by her classmates. Her father is the reason – his mysterious history she knows nothing about. Sam has a violent temper and how he wields it in the town makes pariahs of them both.
The “Twelve Lives” correspond to twelve bullet holes that have scarred over on Sam’s body. Each one has a story and as the book progresses we are drawn into the random, violent and criminal life that Sam has led. In NPR’s interview with the author she said, “. …one of the connections I made was between Samuel Hawley and the myth of Hercules - actually, the structure of the myth of Hercules with his 12 labors. So, I'm interested in heroes that are flawed. And I wanted to translate those 12 labors into the 12 lives of Samuel Hawley and show how sometimes you have to do really bad things to accomplish your goals.”
Can a bad person be a good parent? Can a violent man atone for his past? Is Sam redeemed in the book? Can Loo learn a different path…how to live without her anger? These are provocative questions that are left for interpretation.
An interesting and unpredictable fiction – you cannot see around the corners.
Staff of Wellington Square Book Shop