Ticonderoga Fox had three wishes as a child: to live on an Indian reservation, to publish a book, and to see Paris. Now almost forty, the restless photojournalist has bagged the first two and is on her way to fulfilling the third. Beyond that, Ti’s future is out of focus.
NEW OLD WORLD is a late bloomer’s coming-of-age story that pits one headstrong woman against two continents. Motherless almost since birth and independent to a fault, Ti Fox has become expert at avoiding entanglements. In 1975 she uprooted herself from one edge of America to start a new life on the other. Now, in 1988, she’s on the move again, trading a good job and a good man in Oregon for a one-way ticket to see what the Old World has in store for her. It could be a garret to write in, a new photographic project, just a relaxing interlude—or something else altogether.
During her nine months in England and France, Ti has a series of encounters that call into question the choices she’s made, or overlooked. She finds rest, comfort, and inspiration by the sea in Dorset; is unexpectedly moved by her mother’s ancestral roots on the island of Guernsey; learns the story of her uncle’s time in France during the Second World War; and feels lonely for perhaps the first time in her life. In a weak moment in Paris, she contacts an Englishman she’d known as a college student, and sparks fly. Unhinged by the resulting cultural and religious war, Ti flees Paris for the south of France, ultimately landing in a new old world where creativity and human connection are in balance.
The story of Ticonderoga Fox is told principally from her own perspective, but is bookended by the voices of family and friends. Further enhancing the non-traditional narrative are black and white photographs and a bit of poetry. While NEW OLD WORLD focuses on Ti’s inner landscape, it also unfolds against a variety of backdrops, immersing the reader in geography, travel, culture, photography, and family dynamics.
(Enhanced 2018 edition contains a Reading Guide for book groups or individual readers.)
New Old World
This book has it all—great writing, intriguing story, and Ticonderoga Fox, her name a story in itself. She is a complex character, and I was quickly pulled into her world as she leaves her old life in Oregon and travels to England and France to find a new one. The chance encounters along the way, the relationships explored, the country landscapes and city life described all combine into a beautifully told, compelling story. I was totally engrossed—and totally moved, almost to tears, by its perfect, beautiful ending.