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Far Beyond the Gates: A Novel

By author: Philip Lee Williams
Product Code: H982
ISBN: 9780881467369
Publisher: Mercer University Press
Availability: In stock
Price: $25.00

Lucy McKay, a high school English teacher from Mississippi, is estranged from her divorced parents. Her father, Pratt McKay, is a professor of history at UNC-Chapel Hill, and her mother a professor of art history at Duke. Pratt, who is ill with multiple sclerosis, invites Lucy to spend her summer vacation with him at his second home, which is in an expensive gated community 250 miles west of Chapel Hill in the Great Smoky Mountains. What Lucy does not know is that her father has been withholding a series of family secrets from her, and he is determined to reveal them over the summer. The visit begins with difficulty for Lucy, who is 35, also divorced, and unhappy. She and her father have trouble talking about his progressing illness, and she still has mixed feelings about the Pulitzer Prize her father won. Within the gated community, Lucy begins to make friends with some older residents, but her life changes when she meets a landscape contractor named Sean Crayton, who is working on properties in the neighborhood. Lucy is desperate for her father's love, but shortly after she arrives, he reveals a shocking fact about his own years in college. As the days pass and Lucy begins to date Sean, she realizes how unstable her life has been and how desperately she needs the anchor of lasting love to understand what has happened to her. She must unravel the collapse of her own marriage and the failed ambitions of her ex-husband back in Oxford. She must also try to find a point of balance while dealing with her father. Told in a double-journal form by Lucy and her father, FAR BEYOND THE GATES is a story of love's cost and necessity and the achingly hard job of making love work in a woman's life.
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Review by: Heidi Nilsson, author of FOR THE FIRE FROM THE STRAW and winner of the Singer-Sargent Award for THE MATH OF GIFTS - December 1, 2019
"This book marries the power of Williams's prose with the beauty of his poetry. The result is a narrative full of enchanting characters, engaging dialogue, and sustained suspense whose imagery and insight resonate long after the final page--yet another jewel in Williams’s lustrous literary career."
Review by: Judson Mitcham, award-wining novelist and poet, former Poet Laureate of Georgia, and member of the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame - December 1, 2019
"Williams is a master storyteller. Here, writing with characteristic style and humor, he summons the presiding genius of Faulkner and delivers a moving story of the human heart in conflict with itself. This is a welcome addition to this writer’s remarkable body of work."
Review by: Cynthia Shearer, author of THE CELESTIAL JUKEBOX and member of the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame - December 1, 2019
"In this new novel, Williams narrates the reckonings necessary between a daughter and her famous father as he approaches his own death. With his signature level-headed lyricism, Williams reveals an earned, authentic understanding of the migration of souls that transit in and out of college towns, and the collateral damage that seems to accompany even our best attempts to love each other. In Williams’s cosmos, we all awaken each morning in what some have called the garden of earthly delights, always with the potential to clean our own slates. Herein lies a tale very much worth the telling, about the burden of cumbersome secrets, and how the truth can set free the teller and the told."

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