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Cover for Old Newgate Road

Old Newgate Road

A novel (Vintage Contemporaries)

Keith Scribner


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Other Editions of This Title:
Digital Audiobook (1/7/2019)
Hardcover (1/8/2019)


Old Newgate Road runs through the tobacco fields of northern Connecticut that once drove the local economy. It’s where Cole Callahan spent his youth, in a historic white colonial in which he hasn’t set foot in thirty years—not since he was a teenager, when one night his father murdered his mother in a fit of rage. Now Cole has returned to discover his elderly father, freed from prison, living alone in their old home and succumbing to dementia.

Matters grow even more complicated when Cole’s rabble-rousing son Daniel is expelled from high school. So Cole summons Daniel to Connecticut to work in the tobacco fields—Cole’s own job growing up. Forced together, these three generations of men must contend with the sinister history they share—and desperately try to invent a future that isn’t doomed by it.

Praise For Old Newgate Road: A novel (Vintage Contemporaries)

"Inspired. . . . Keith Scribner’s achievement in this compelling narrative is to explore generational domestic violence with such realistic dialogue and minute, telling, sensual details as if to invoke the eerie feeling that the reader is an on-the-scene witness. . . . This is a timely, disturbing but well-written book."

Old Newgate Road is very much about abuse: its sway over time, its resilience over the years and its power over us to delude ourselves. Yet Keith Scribner also reminds us that salvaging a life . . . ‘doesn’t happen in an instant — it’s not a simple decision, but an accumulation of generous acts, of kindness and taking care.’”
The Anniston Star
“With extraordinary tact [and] alive with activity . . . vivid, memorable . . . [an] affecting novel about taking steps to move on from trauma.”
Washington Times
“Events and emotions long buried are unearthed, a home and childhood filled with rage, fear, violence and trauma are explored. Old Newgate Road shows us that one can escape from a broken home, but the shackles of abuse remain tightly in place.”
Connecticut Magazine
Old Newgate Road is a complex and introspective account of one family's plight of abuse and heartbreak that plagues each member for decades. Is there a possibility that long ago hurts can be mended and existing ones healed? Highly emotional, this novel offers much food for thought.”
New York Journal of Books
“With psychological insight and a layer of suspense, Scribner artfully illuminates his hero balancing fiercely ambivalent feelings about his father with his own domestic problems involving his estranged wife and defiant teen-age son in Portland, Oregon.”
The National Book Review

“A bracing, knotty exploration of abuse and its impact across decades. . . . Scribner writes beautifully about [these] hills and tobacco fields, with grace and a fine eye for detail. The novel’s real turf, though, is the bleak emotional territory of abuse, and [here he] writes with brutal intensity . . . drilling deeper into ever darker material [until ending] on a redemptive note.”
Kirkus Reviews

“This gripping saga draws out themes of masculinity, sublimated trauma, and physical violence-- speaking to the ways people fashion narratives out of troubled pasts to survive, resulting in a probing, tightly-plotted novel.”
Publishers Weekly

Vintage, 9780525563464, 320pp.

Publication Date: October 8, 2019

About the Author

Keith Scribner grew up in Troy, New York, and then East Granby, Connecticut. His previous novels are The Oregon Experiment, Miracle Girl, and The GoodLife, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. He currently teaches at Oregon State University in Corvallis, where he lives with his wife, the poet Jennifer Richter, and their children.