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The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley

by Hannah Tinti

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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8565925,622 (3.85)33
"Loo is twelve when she moves back to the New England fishing village of her early youth. Her father, Hawley, finds work on the boats, while she undergoes the usual heartaches of a new kid in school. But lurking over Loo are mysteries, both of the mother who passed away, of the grandmother she's forbidden to speak to. And hurtling towards both father and daughter are the ghosts of Hawley's past. Before Loo's birth, he was a professional criminal engaged in increasingly elaborate and dangerous underworld schemes. Life on the road was harsh - Samuel Hawley took "twelve bullets" in his brutal career. The scars have healed, but there is a reckoning still to come"--… (more)
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» See also 33 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 59 (next | show all)
Really enjoy this author. The story goes back and forth between the present and the past, detailing the incidents that led to Hawley’s twelve bullet wounds. I have a feeling the twelve is important, 12 months, 12 zodiac signs? May need to look at things again and try to figure it out. the character of Jove was impossible to overlook, but it wasn’t until late in the book that the author let on the connection between the character loo and Pluto, the god and the planet.Cant decide if the eagle, a known avatar of Jove, feeding on the road kill was a hint or not. Anyway, interesting,moving story, well paced with some humor and lots of interest ( )
  cspiwak | Mar 6, 2024 |
Several years ago, I listened to the podcast, Books on the Nightstand, religiously. One of the hosts, Michael, raved about how much he loved The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti. I discovered a signed copy of the book…I think we were traveling and exploring an indie bookstore…maybe in Raleigh, North Carolina? Anyway, I have this tendency to purchase books I truly intend to read in the near future, and they wait very patiently on my bookshelf. I didn’t forget about this book. In fact, I have admired its presence in the signed section of my home library ever since I brought it home.

The wait has ended. I finally stepped into the uniquely dangerous, tragic lives of Samuel Hawley and his daughter, Loo. Hawley is a criminal who has been living a nomadic lifestyle by constantly moving; living in and out of motels with his young daughter. As Loo becomes a teenager, Hawley decides to move to Olympus, Massachusetts where Loo’s mother grew up. He wants to give Loo stability and a real home. Loo has difficulty getting along with her peers at school as she embarks on her own self-exploration.

Hawley’s body has scars he earned from his criminal lifestyle. Twelve scars in fact. Each representing a bullet he took from his dangerous adventures. I loved how a chapter of the book was dedicated to each bullet that entered Hawley’s body. Readers not only learn how and why Hawley was shot each time, we also learn what was going on in Hawley’s life.

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley is an amazing story! I completely understand why Michael was so enamored by it and urged podcast listeners to read it. It’s a five-star book for me! Despite Hawley’s flaws, he is one of those characters filled with so much suffering that my heart was constantly breaking for him. Maybe it’s because of his flaws that I felt that way. Even though I felt tremendously sad most of the time while reading this book, I couldn’t wait to see what Loo was going to get herself into next and what shenanigans were going to Hawley shot. There are so many layers to this story: grief, survival, identity, change, friendship, love, and family. It’s deep and wonderful.

I have photos and additional information that I'm unable to include here. It can all be found on my blog, in the link below.
A Book And A Dog ( )
  NatalieRiley | Feb 1, 2024 |
A man's dark past catches up with him and his teenage daughter. Hijinks ensue. Deeply symbolic hijinks.

From August 21, 2019: Today's plane novel: half of a fascinatingly bad crime novel. So far, "best" scenes: fleeing a bad burglary, two guys climb aboard a boat, discover a whale surfacing beneath them and begin firing their guns into its unresponsive surface. Also: I am in the middle of a scene where a criminal hand-off is happening in Alaska, and everyone pauses to watch a glacier break up, and THAT causes a huge wave that is sweeping everyone out to sea or something. Whyyyy does the hand-off need to happen right there????

Later: No this one is not a rec but I will finish it to discover where else its Mad Libs plotting is going.

August 23, 2019: I also finished my terrible crime novel. Good news: after a Deal Gone Bad, our hero is bleeding out on a little boat and sees a whale surface, fin. It was terrible and exhilarating; I haven't read a book this bad in years.

Anyway, I kept a running list of the worst sentences, enjoy:

Hawley was in his forties but looked younger, his hips still narrow, his legs strong. (Note: this is from the perspective of Hawley's young teen daughter, or possibly the space alien inhabiting his young teen daughter, since no teen daughter has ever thought about her father's narrow hips outside of a Pornhub video.)

There was at least twenty years and a world of difference between them, but Talbot's wife held something deep inside of her that Hawley knew he could spend the rest of his life trying to uncover. (This sentence just keeps stringing together tired language and dead cliches, one after another, and each one is tireder and deader than the last.)

For a moment Hawley could sense each bullet as it left the chamber, as it traveled through the air, as it penetrated the whale's dark skin and tunneled through flesh, slowed and then came to a stop, nestled in some hidden corner of the leviathan's body, a token to be carried until the end of days. (ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.)

She was young, with a body made thick with fast, cheap food. (AHHHHHHHHHH.) ( )
  proustbot | Jun 19, 2023 |
Abandoned after 140 pages. ( )
  cathy.lemann | Mar 21, 2023 |
The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley/Hannah Tinti A father protects his daughter from the legacy of his past—and the truth about her mother’s death—in this thrilling new novel from the prize-winning author of The Good Thief.
After years spent living on the run, Samuel Hawley moves with his teenage daughter, Loo, to Olympus, Massachusetts. There, in his late wife’s hometown, Hawley finds work as a fisherman, while Loo struggles to fit in at school and grows curious about her mother’s mysterious death. Haunting them both are twelve scars Hawley carries on his body, from twelve bullets in his criminal past—a past that eventually spills over into his daughter’s present, until together they must face a reckoning yet to come. This father-daughter epic weaves back and forth through time and across America, from Alaska to the Adirondacks. Both a coming-of-age novel and a literary thriller, The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley explores what it means to be a hero, and the cost we pay to protect the people we love most.
 
Eloquently written, this book was lyrical and lovely yet for some reason I was never fully captivated.
 
The web of characters was well twined--from Loo's principal to her grandmother, I felt like they all fit into the web of a greater picture. Each had their own clear motives and intriguing backstories and in my opinion that was the most successful element of this book.
 
The timeline in which it is told works very well, and I had a lot of fun piecing together thoughts from the past and the present and seeing how pieces of the puzzle fittogether. In this regard, it's almost a mystery in that I was guessing while reading about how Hawley had come to be as he was, and about the mysteries of Lily's life.
 
This book contained a lot more action than I normally read, with violence and epic chases and very many guns. The latter was lost on me as I can barely tell a revolver from a shotgun, but the book definitely kept moving with a lot of excitement.
 
I have never had a child, yet I feel like this book was one of few that gave me a glimpse into the all-consuming love that parents have for children. The author portrayed this magnificently throughout various characters--normally I feel as though it is assumed that I understand this love, but this book actually showed me.
 
Yet I was never truly captivated by this book, and I put it down to read others and was easily able to forget about it. It didn't captivate me as much as I thought that it would. I liked the characters, but didn't love them. I was intrigued by the how Hawley had ended up in the present, but not enough that it kept me thinking after I closed the book.
 
I definitely recommend this, even though I failed to fall in love with it.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  whakaora | Mar 5, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 59 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hannah Tintiprimary authorall editionscalculated
Wiley, ElizabethNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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With a rapid, nameless impulse, in a superb lofty arch the bright steel spans the foaming distance, and quivers in the life spot of the whale. Instead of sparkling water, he now spouts red blood.
"That drove the spigot out of him," cries Stubb. "'Tis July's immortal fourth; all fountains must run wine to-day!"
—Herman Melville, Moby-Dick
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When Loo was twelve years old her father taught her how to shoot a gun.
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"Loo is twelve when she moves back to the New England fishing village of her early youth. Her father, Hawley, finds work on the boats, while she undergoes the usual heartaches of a new kid in school. But lurking over Loo are mysteries, both of the mother who passed away, of the grandmother she's forbidden to speak to. And hurtling towards both father and daughter are the ghosts of Hawley's past. Before Loo's birth, he was a professional criminal engaged in increasingly elaborate and dangerous underworld schemes. Life on the road was harsh - Samuel Hawley took "twelve bullets" in his brutal career. The scars have healed, but there is a reckoning still to come"--

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Hannah Tinti is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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Hannah Tinti chatted with LibraryThing members from Aug 24, 2009 to Sep 4, 2009. Read the chat.

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