Picador USA, Paperback, 9781250016072, 304pp.
Publication Date: April 24, 2012
A "New York Times Book Review" Notable Book
The year is 1936, and the world is on the brink of war. American expatriot Edward Mason, owner of a failing machine factory, is fighting more private battles. In the face of defeat, he abandons his adopted home in England in order to reclaim his inheritance on Maryland's Eastern Shore---a ruinous, thousand-acre estate known ominously as Mason's Retreat. Edward, his wife, Edith, and their two young sons struggle to adjust to life in this strange and storied place. But with war drawing closer, England's hasty rearmament offers Edward a chance to revive the factory, and he returns alone to lead his company. Meanwhile, his wife and sons are left to make their own fortunes. When an unsigned letter informs Edward of where those fortunes have led, he hastens back, an ill-fated move that will have devastating consequences for everyone involved.
Haunted, moving, and masterfully written, "Christopher Tilghman's deeply remembered novel is a loyal testament to history---to the lure and bind of family, to the earth that spat us out and receives us unquestionably again" (Gail Caldwell, "The Boston Sunday Globe").
"Powerful...A work of surpassing thematic seriousness and fictive artistry. In all respects, Mason’s Retreat is exemplary."---The Washington Post Book World "Stately, absorbing...Mr. Tilghman writes [with] authoritative elegance….His book, so rooted in the idea of coming home, makes one realize all over again that here on Earth there is no such place."---Thomas Mallon, The New York Times Book Review"Comes close to pure, exhilarating perfection...Tilghman gives us richly drawn characters, shimmering detail, and an irresistibly moving theme---all presented in a graceful and powerful style."---San Francisco Chronicle "Rich...bewitching...unforgettably rendered...The pieces in Tilghman’s kaleidoscope [are] sharp, faceted, and gleaming."---Richard Eder, Los Angeles Times"Beautifully written...fully imagined...Few first novels are narrated with the clarity, economy, and masterful assurance Tilghman brings to this remarkably moving and persuasive tale."---Entertainment Weekly