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.
A man returns to his long-abandoned childhood home, stirring up memories from a traumatic boyhood in this gripping saga from Scribner (The Oregon Experiment). Set among the sweet-smelling tobacco fields of East Granby, Conn., Cole Callahan remembers his childhood home where his parents and the Callahan children conducted unceasing restoration efforts, and where Cole's father abused his mother, eventually killing her as a locus of violence and thrumming fear. Now the owner of a construction business, Cole returns to town after 30 years of absence to gather materials for a project, only to discover his estranged father, whose grasp on reality has eroded, inhabiting the home, where he plays eerie melodies on the old upright piano. Cole stays, ostensibly to care for his father, and flies in his teenage son, Daniel, to work the tobacco fields for the summer. A tenuous peace is briefly forged, but soon tensions with several of East Granby residents (including Liz, an old girlfriend) ignite; when they combust one violent night, Cole is spurred to examine his childhood and come to grips with the truth of his mother's murder. Scribner's narrative 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.