18 March 2017

Interesting & Intricate | The Barrowfields by Phillip Lewis


A richly textured coming-of-age story about fathers and sons, home and family, recalling classics by Thomas Wolfe and William Styron, by a powerful new voice in fiction.

Just before Henry Aster’s birth, his father—outsized literary ambition and pregnant wife in tow—reluctantly returns to the small Appalachian town in which he was raised and installs his young family in an immense house of iron and glass perched high on the side of a mountain. There, Henry grows up under the writing desk of this fiercely brilliant man. But when tragedy tips his father toward a fearsome unraveling, what was once a young son’s reverence is poisoned and Henry flees, not to return until years later when he, too, must go home again. 

Mythic in its sweep and mesmeric in its prose, The Barrowfields is a breathtaking debut about the darker side of devotion, the limits of forgiveness, and the reparative power of shared pasts.


This stunningly written debut from Phillip Lewis captivated me from the start—I do so enjoy a dysfunctional family drama. With its exquisite descriptions, small town setting, appreciation for literature, lingering tragedy, and complicated relationships, The Barrowfields shares an interesting coming-of-age story. It’s intricate and well-told and utterly satisfying, and I quite enjoyed it. A reader with an interest in coming-of-age family drama could certainly enjoy it, too.


Thanks to Blogging for Books, I received a complimentary copy of The Barrowfields and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.

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