Roads of the Heart
By Christopher Tilghman
(Random House Trade Paperbacks, Paperback, 9780812974317, 224pp.)
Publication Date: October 11, 2005
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With the deep emotion and insight of “a true storyteller” (Richard Eder, Los Angeles Times), Christopher Tilghman, the author of the acclaimed Mason’s Retreat and In a Father’s Place, has written a powerful new novel of men and women, fathers and families.
Eric Alwin has gone to visit his elderly father, a once commanding and charismatic Maryland senator who has seen his public service soured–and his family broken–by a sex scandal. Realizing that his own unfaithfulness, his disaffection 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.
The ensuing trip through the Deep South and the American heartland becomes both a journey into the emotional truth of the Alwin family and a breakthrough into a new kind of resilience and understanding, and love. Along the way, Eric will know anew not only his mother, Audrey, but his sisters, Alice and Poppy, and 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 and coherent life for himself.
Christopher Tilghman’s Roads of the Heart is a brilliant achievement by an author who, grappling with the strains and discords of contemporary American culture, achieves a special understanding of how family members love and lose and find one another every day.
CHRISTOPHER TILGHMAN is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Whiting Writer’s Award, and the Ingram Merrill Foundation Award. His other books include Mason’s Retreat and In a Father’s Place. His fiction has appeared in The New Yorker. He is a tenured professor and teaches writing at the University of Virginia.
“Christopher Tilghman is such a smart and honest writer–so forgiving and so knowing about all that people do that requires forgiveness–that it’s possible to enter his stories fully, without really noticing the clarity, intelligence and supple strength of his sentences, until you find them with you, weeks later.”
“Once again, Chris Tilghman displays his talent for plumbing the depths of family life and for showing just how hard how it can be to escape the past, both our own and our family's. Roads of the Heart is a richly imagined, beautifully written, deeply affecting novel."
"Roads of the Heart glows, both with Christopher Tilghman's beautiful language, and with his graceful, compassionate meditations on the family. I found myself re-reading these sentences, just for the pleasures of the prose. Wise, tender and illuminating, this book delivers pleasures on many levels, and lingers in the mind long after it has been closed."