A New Face of Fiction for 2015, All True Not a Lie in It is pioneer Daniel Boone's life, told in his voice--a tall tale like no other, startling, funny, poignant, romantic and brawling, set during the American Revolutionary War and hinging on Boone's capture by the Shawnee.
Here is Daniel Boone as you've never seen him. Debut novelist Alix Hawley presents Boone's life, from his childhood in a Quaker colony, through 2 stints captured by Indians as he attempted to settle Kentucky, the death of 1 son at the hands of the same Indians, and the rescue of 1 daughter. The prose rivals Hilary Mantel's and Peter Carey's, conveying that sense of being inside the head of a storied historical figure about which much nonsense is spoken while also feeling completely contemporary.
Boone was a fabulous hunter and explorer, and a "white Indian," perhaps happiest when he found a place as the captive, adopted son of a chief who was trying to prevent the white settlement of Kentucky. Hawley takes us intimately into the life-and-death survival of people pushing away from security and into Indian lands, despite sense and treaties, just before and into the War of Independence. The love story between Boone and his wife, Rebecca, is rich and tangled, but mostly it's Boone who fascinates, pushing into places where he imagines he can create a new "clean" world, only to find death and trouble and complication. He is a fabulous character, unrivalled in North American literature, and a prime candidate for the tall tale. The storytelling is taut and expert, the descriptions rich and powerful, the prose full of feeling, but Boone is what drives this outstanding debut.
Alix Hawley studied English literature and creative writing at Oxford University, the University of East Anglia and the University of British Columbia. She published a story collection, The Old Familiar, with Thistledown Press in 2008. She won the 2014 Canada Writes Bloodlines competition, judged by Lawrence Hill, and was runner-up for the CBC Literary Award for short stories in 2012 and 2014. She teaches at Okanagan College in Kelowna, BC, where she lives with her family.
WINNER 2015 – Amazon.ca First Novel Award
LONGLISTED 2015 – Scotiabank Giller Prize
“Alix Hawley has written a boldly original, mysterious, and provocative novel—the demythologizing of an American icon and his reinvention as a figure of poetic luminosity. She is Cormac McCarthy’s young heiress, with a light and forgiving heart.” —Joyce Carol Oates
“An extraordinary feat of backwoods ventriloquism, carried off with great flair and conviction, across the boundaries of custom, time and gender. Alix Hawley invests afresh in the voice of Daniel Boone and his tough familiars, bringing shock and sensuality, but also surprising tenderness, to the famously rugged frontier myth.”
—Richard Holmes, author of The Age of Wonder
“Alix Hawley’s resurrection of the great woodsman, Daniel Boone, is astonishingly, uncannily vivid. Lightly stitched to the sparse historical record, this is not a picture of the frontier itself so much as the restless spirits of exploration, love, memory, and greed that drove Boone—‘the white Indian’—west through the wilderness. His voice cracks like a musket shot across these pages—brave, confused, and yearning—and Hawley’s close, dream-like perspective lends a hallucinatory aspect to her prose, as if we are looking out Boone’s eyes at those lost landscapes and faces. An amazing debut.”
“I fell in love with Alix Hawley’s Daniel Boone, a man drawn to the beating heart of the wild landscape that stretches beyond his known world, and who risks recklessly to preserve his freedom.”
—Frances Greenslade, author of Shelter
“All True Not a Lie in It moves with surety and grace through legends and landscapes trod by more than a few major artists. Watching Alix Hawley negotiate this challenging terrain, via Daniel Boone, of all American stories, is a serious literary thrill. An audacious debut.”
—Charles Foran, author of Mordecai: The Life
“Alix Hawley has really done a number on an American folk hero. With vivid imagery and a strong, dreamlike voice, she confidently strips away the myth of Daniel Boone to reveal the strange, pulsing man underneath. It is a remarkable feat and a remarkable book.”
—Tracy Chevalier, author of The Last Runaway and Girl with a Pearl Earring
“Alix Hawley’s debut novel is audacious and bold, like an early Ondaatje, with writing that is luscious, lyrical, and bloodthirsty. Like Hawley’s narrator, Daniel Boone, All True Not a Lie In It constantly seeks out new ground, wrapping the reader in a landscape of language and dream.”
—Alexi Zentner, author of The Lobster Kings and Touch