The Travelers: A Novel (Hardcover)
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The adventures of two families unfold and intertwine—across continents and generations, spanning the 1950s through Obama’s first year as president—in The Travelers, an absorbing tale of family, history, and the persistence of love.
Meet James Samuel Vincent, an affluent Manhattan attorney who shirks his modest Irish American background but hews to his father’s meandering ways. James muddles through a topsy-turvy relationship with his son, Rufus, which is further complicated when Rufus marries Claudia Christie.
Claudia’s mother— Agnes Miller Christie—is a beautiful African American woman who survives a chance encounter on a Georgia road that propels her into a new life in the Bronx. Soon after, her husband, Eddie Christie, is called to duty on an air craft carrier in Vietnam, where Tom Stoppard’s play “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” becomes Eddie’s life anchor, as he grapples with mounting racial tensions on the ship and counts the days until he will see Agnes again.
These unforgettable characters’ lives intersect with a cast of lovers and friends—the unapologetic black lesbian who finds her groove in 1970s Berlin; a moving man stranded in Portsmouth, New Hampshire during a Thanksgiving storm; two half-brothers who meet as adults in a crayon factory; and a Coney Island waitress whose Prince Charming is too good to be true.
With piercing humor, exacting dialogue, and a beautiful sense of place, Regina Porter’s debut is both an intimate family portrait and a sweeping exploration of what it means to be American today.
About the Author
Regina Porter is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she was an Iowa Arts Fellow. She is the recipient of a 2017-2018 Rae Armour West Postgraduate Scholarship. She is also a 2017 Tin House Scholar. Her fiction has been published in The Harvard Review. An award-winning writer with a background in playwriting, Porter has worked with Playwrights Horizons, the Joseph Papp Theater, New York Stage and Film, the Women's Project, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, and Horizon Theatre Company. She has been anthologized in Plays from Woolly Mammoth by Broadway Play Services and Heinemann's Scenes for Women by Women. She has also been profiled in Southern Women Playwrights: New Essays in History and Criticism from the University of Alabama Press. Porter was born in Savannah, Georgia, and lives in Brooklyn.
Advance praise for The Travelers:
"In this innovative and deeply moving debut, Regina Porter has mastered the kind of alchemy found in a great painting by Poussin: her canvas is vast, her subject ambitious, and yet her execution is so brilliantly devoted to particulars that it creates a miraculous intimacy. The beauty of this book lies in how Porter's characters, through resilience and community, art and creative love, cut new doors out of the corners they've been backed into by history."—Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You
"Regina Porter’s The Travelers is not only the compelling intergenerational saga of two intertwining families but also a deadpan and mordant chronicle of 20th century America’s casual intolerance and racial violence, as well as a series of portraits of intrepid women, a celebration of family responsibility, and an impassioned reminder that we most honor those we loved by continuing to love others."—Jim Shepard, National Book Award shortlisted author of Like You’d Understand, Anyway
“The Travelers is a great, grand tabernacle of a novel, under the roof of which it seems the entire history of the United States and all its people has been gathered into a single blazing congregation. It is full of tales tall and short, lives black, white, and every shade between, from the north, the south, east, and west. None but the biggest-hearted, sharpest-eyed, most generous-spirited of writers could pull off a book like this. Regina Porter is some kind of visionary.”—Paul Harding, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Tinkers
"In The Travelers, generations of two families - one black and one white - journey across time, race, geography and the wounds of history with sweeping breadth and disarming intimacy. Porter's debut signals the arrival of a fully formed, singular talent. You've been wanting to read this book for a long time; it's just that Porter hadn't written it yet."—Ayana Mathis, author of The Twelve Tribes of Hattie