The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley

by Hannah Tinti


$15.30 $17.00 Save 10% Current price is $15.3, Original price is $17. You Save 10%. View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Thursday, September 26


“A gripping American-on-the-run thriller . . . a brilliant coming-of-age tale and a touching exploration of father-daughter relationships.”—Newsweek
“One part Quentin Tarantino, one part Scheherazade, and twelve parts wild innovation.”—Ann Patchett, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Commonwealth


Samuel Hawley isn’t like the other fathers in Olympus, Massachusetts. A loner who spent years living on the run, he raised his beloved daughter, Loo, on the road, moving from motel to motel, always watching his back. Now that Loo’s a teenager, Hawley wants only to give her a normal life. In his late wife’s hometown, he finds work as a fisherman, while Loo struggles to fit in at the local high school.

Growing more and more curious about the mother she never knew, Loo begins to investigate. Soon, everywhere she turns, she encounters the mysteries of her parents’ lives before she was born. This hidden past is made all the more real by the twelve scars her father carries on his body. Each scar is from a bullet Hawley took over the course of his criminal career. Each is a memory: of another place on the map, another thrilling close call, another moment of love lost and found. As Loo uncovers a history that’s darker than she could have known, the demons of her father’s past spill over into the present—and together both Hawley and Loo must face a reckoning yet to come.

Praise for The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley

“A master class in literary suspense.”The Washington Post

“Tinti depicts brutality and compassion with exquisite sensitivity, creating a powerful overlay of love and pain.”The New Yorker

“Hannah Tinti’s beautifully constructed second novel . . . uses the scars on Hawley’s body—all twelve bullet wounds, one by one—to show who he is, what he’s done, and why the past chases and clings to him with such tenacity.”The Boston Globe

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley is an adventure epic with the deeper resonance of myth. . . . Tinti exhibits an aptitude for shining a piercing light into the corners of her characters’ hearts and minds.”O: The Oprah Magazine

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780812989908
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/30/2018
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 232,294
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Hannah Tinti grew up in Salem, Massachusetts. Her short story collection Animal Crackers was a runner-up for the PEN/Hemingway Award. Her bestselling novel The Good Thief won the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and an American Library Association Alex Award, and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Tinti is the co-founder and executive editor of the award-winning literary magazine One Story.

Read an Excerpt


Excerpted from "The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Hannah Tinti.
Excerpted by permission of Diversified Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Reading Group Guide

1. The central relationship in this story is the one between Samuel Hawley and his daughter, Loo. In what ways are they similar, and in what ways are they different? How do Hawley and Loo evoke the special bond between fathers and daughters?

2. So much of this story begins at “The Greasy Pole.” What did you like about this particular chapter? How does it color your under- standing of the distinctive town of Olympus, Massachusetts? How does it shift your perspective of Hawley, as a father and as a man?

3. Discuss the theme of secrets. What are the secrets that drive the action of the novel? How do secrets bring characters together? How do they drive them apart?

4. So many great stories are founded on the distinctions between heroes and villains, but in this novel, the line between the two is not so easily discernable. Who do you feel are the heroes of this story? Who are the villains? How did this novel make you rethink how you define good and evil?

5. Discuss the structure of this novel. How does the switch between past and present contribute to the arc of the story? How does it deepen our understanding of Hawley and Loo, and connect these two very different coming-of-age stories?

6. In this novel we are taken on a road trip across America. How do the themes of travel and searching play a role in this story? Which setting did you enjoy the most? When Hawley and Loo finally settle in Olympus, how does this new, permanent home impact them?

7. As we get to know Hawley and Loo, we begin to understand that “Loo’s mother had been dead for years but she had never been invis- ible.” How does Lily play a role in the novel, even though she is no longer with her husband and daughter? How does her absence drive their actions and motivations?

8. While so much of this novel concerns the stories of relation- ships between characters, there is also great significance in the relationships between these characters and nature—for example, Lily and Loo’s fascination with the stars, or Hawley’s interactions with a whale. How does the natural world contribute to the story- lines of these characters and help them find their places in the universe?

9. This novel focuses on the love between a parent and child, but there is also romantic love between Hawley and Lily, Mary Titus and Principal Gunderson, and especially Loo and Marshall Hicks. Do you think any of these romantic relationships are successful? Why do you think Lily stays with Hawley? How does Loo’s bond with Marshall change her?

10. Objects carry immense significance in this novel, from the watches to the star map to the bathroom shrine of Lily’s things. For Hawley and Loo, these objects represent important memories. How do these pieces of the past influence the present? How do characters’ memories help or hurt them? Which objects did you remember the most after you’d finished reading the book?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well worth it. I stayed up late to finish it. These characters will stay with me for a while
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite reads in a long time. Great, strong women in this novel. A page turner from the first one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So different, a good story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put this one down! Story is so compelling and it's impossible not to root for these characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Glad I took a chance on it. Great characters. Great premise. Excellent Storytelling.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Phenomenal character development of immediately relatable individuals. Flawless plotting. Great action. Philosophic musing that makes you feel rewarded. I absolutely loved this book, as I have her other novel and story collection. Hannah Tinti is a writer who withstand the test of time. Read this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
nooklooker More than 1 year ago
Not many books I'll give 5 stars to. I enjoyed this boo so much that I am giving the hard cover version to my daughter for her birthday. I felt like I was there in the book is was so well written.
Ratgirl24 More than 1 year ago
Cats have 9 lives, but Samuel Hawley has been blessed with 12! “The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley” by Hannah Tinti is the story of Samuel Hawley, his daughter Loo, and the people who interact with them throughout their lives. It is the tale of a lawless father and his attempts to keep those he loves safe. Sometimes he is successful… sometimes he is not. Hawley and Loo move around a lot to random destinations. They only stay somewhere six months to a year. On Loo’s eleventh birthday, Samuel decides to take Loo someplace where she “won’t have to play alone”. This time, though, they return to Olympus, Massachusetts; her mother’s hometown. Loo’s grandmother still lives there. We soon find out that Hawley has trouble reigning in his temper. We get a feel for why they may have spent Loo’s life running. Samuel always had one gun on him and several more within arm’s length. He taught Loo how to shoot at twelve so it seems normal for her to be around guns. They are her friends. She is comfortable with them; she is not so comfortable with her anger. Mixed with her teenage hormones, she often reacts badly confronted by bullies. I love the way the author switches from the present and Loo’s perspective to the past. Chapters alternate with “Bullet Number One” and so on to tell Hawley’s past, why he is running, and why he loves and protects his daughter so desperately! As the book progresses, so does Loo’s life. For the most part, she is a loner. However, she finds love. Her attempts to maintain that relationship are frantic and pitiful. She is as strong a lover as her father. He sets up a sort of altar (in the bathroom) to her dead mother everywhere they call home. The explanation of this towards the end of the book is absolutely heartbreaking. It will rip open a wound in everyone who has lost someone they desperately love with the hope that they will look up and see their loved one turn the corner. Super read; satisfying ending! Release/Publication Date: March 28, 2017 Genre: Literary Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Coming of Age, Cover: OK. Source: I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review. Thank you! Rating: 4.5 stars (rounding to 5)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read-couldn't put it down.
brf1948 More than 1 year ago
I received a free electronic copy of this novel from Netgalley, Hannah Tinti, and Random House Publishing Group - Dial Press in exchange for an honest review. Thank you all, for sharing your hard work with me. Crime does not pay. We all know this, have all heard this from an early ago. It is certainly true in the life of Samuel Hawley. He is a hard man, a rough individual with a hair trigger and who all too easily looses control of his temper. You have to like him, anyway. Part of his saving grace is the great love he has for his deceased wife, Lily, and the loving care he expends on his daughter Loo - he always tries to do the right thing where Loo is concerned. He always tries to be a good father. And while it is very true that crime doesn't pay, in this instance it can be very entertaining. This is a swashbuckling tale that is a fast read and the characters grab your attention and hold it throughout. The setting wanders to special places, usually near large bodies of water, and all are beautifully described. Hannah Tinti is an author to watch.
Deb-Krenzer More than 1 year ago
A different and interesting book. The 12 lives refers to the bullet scars that Samuel Hawley has on his body and the book tells you how Samuel received those scars. Samuel and his friend, Jove, used to be what they called themselves "takers". That's what they did. They would get paid to take. It was something they did for many years starting when they were very young until one day Samuel met Lily. He still took some, but not as much. Then when Lily got pregnant with Loo, Samuel could see that his taking days were over. The books goes back and forth between the scar stories and life with Lily and Loo. It's a great story and one that I really liked a lot. A family story with a lot of emotion, sadness, loneliness, death, bad guys, moving (literally) and just a really, really great story. I was really sad when the book ended. I had become attached to these characters and did not want to say goodbye. Huge thanks to Random House for approving my request and to Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest review.
Myndia More than 1 year ago
Samuel Hawley has been on the run with his daughter Loo for years, packing up and relocating every year, never getting too settled, too comfortable. Loo doesn’t know why they have to live this way, but her mother is dead, her father is all she has, and she loves him. It really isn’t that bad. She doesn’t remember it being any other way. Then one day, when Loo is 11, Hawley decides it’s a good time to settle down somewhere, and he takes Loo to her mother’s hometown of Olympus, Massachusetts to lay roots. As the years pass and Loo grows into a young woman, she learns more and more about her father’s past, including some painful truths she hadn’t expected, gets questions answered about her mother, of whom she knows very little, and starts to grasp the person that she is and the kind she wants to be. The tone of this book reminded me a bit of All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood crossed with a smattering of The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis. A little gritty, but not overwhelmingly so. Perhaps it’s the survival aspect that connects them, the idea that when our lives are at stake, all bets are off. Also, that doing bad things doesn’t necessarily make us innately bad, that we are still capable of loving and being loved, that there is always room for change, always room for forgiveness, to make amends, to do better and be better. Hawley may not be the perfect father, but damn if he doesn’t try. Loo’s upbringing is far from typical, but somehow it suits her personality, she takes it in stride, and she loves her father fiercely. Love isn’t always easy, and love between parent and child is rarely simple, but despite all the extraneous crap that gets tossed at them, their bond remains intact. The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley is about a lot of things – redemption, sacrifice, friendship, forgiveness, family – but ultimately, it’s about love. And it’s a love story worth reading. Note: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.