Laird Hunt

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The Evening Road

book | Fiction | Feb 2017
US & Canada → Little, Brown & Company (Ed. Josh Kendall)
UK & Canada → Chatto & Windus (Ed. Juliet Brooke)

Named one of the Best books of 2017: Fiction, by the Financial Times

Two women, two secrets: one desperate and extraordinary day.

Meet Ottie Lee Henshaw, a startling, challenging beauty in small-town Indiana. Quick of mind, she navigates a stifling marriage, a lecherous boss and, on one day in the summer of 1930, an odyssey across the countryside to witness a dark and fearful event.

Meet Calla Destry, a young woman desperate to escape the violence of her town, and to find the lover who has promised her a new life. Every road leads to the bedlam of Marvel, and on them lives will collide and be changed forever.

Reminiscent of the works of Louise Erdrich, Edward P. Jones, and Marilynne Robinson, The Evening Road is the story of two remarkable women on the move through an America riven by fear and hatred, and eager to flee the secrets they have left behind.


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The audio rights are handled by Liz Farrell.

Claire Nozieres manages the translation rights for The Evening Road

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Editions Actes Sud
btb/Random House Verlag

Wow! Beautifully crafted, seductive, evocative language and a story that punches you in the gut and lays you low and yet leaves you wanting more. It¹s rich, deep, dark, harrowing stuff and it does what all great fiction does: it lays ahold of the heart and won¹t let go. You¹ll think about this book for weeks, if not for years to come.

Daniel James Brown, author of The Boys in the Boat

In this startling and unforgettable novel, the characters explode off the page like fireworks on a very dark and disturbing night. Days later I’m still thinking about them, still hearing the cadence of Hunt’s poetic language, and still wondering which is more enduring, the darkness or the light.

Charlotte Rogan, author of The Lifeboat

This dramatic story of one horrific day in Middle America a century ago is as relevant to our own era as the intolerance, latent and otherwise, that still characterizes all levels of our society. The Evening Road is both a major literary achievement and a timely and inspiring story in these troubled, latter days.

Howard Frank Mosher, author of A Stranger in the Kingdom

"You are speaking in originalities," says the heroine of Hunt's previous novel (Neverhome). The line applies as well to the book's well-crafted writing, rich plot, and doughty lead, a woman disguised as a man in the Union Army during the Civil War. Hunt's new book raises his own high bar further with an almost fablelike view of prejudice and cruelty some 60 years after emancipation... He is strange, challenging, and a joy to read.

Kirkus (Starred review)

At once dreamily timeless and fitting for the current national moment... Hunt’s striking prose and visionary imagery capture America’s community bonds, violent prejudices, falling darkness, and searing light.

Publishers Weekly

Critically acclaimed Hunt (Neverhome, 2014) offers fascinating characters and the subtlest of life-changing moments.


Hunt showed off his talent for warped history in his last novel, Neverhome...This time, alighting in 1930 Indiana on the night of a lynching, he pushes further into linguistic invention and farther out to the margins of drama...Hunt’s picaresque illuminates its time better than any staid sepia period piece ever could.

Boris Kachka

Hunt’s lyrical novel tracks the journeys of two appealingly complicated women and is also grounded in history: the lynching in Indiana’s Grant County on Aug. 7, 1930, that inspired the poem Strange Fruit.

San Franciso Chronicle

Laird Hunt follows his startling Neverhome with The Evening Road, set in 1930s Indiana and following the paths of Ottie Lee Henshaw and Calla Destry in the wake of race lynching. Ottie Lee is a “cornsilk,” or white; Calla is a “cornflower,” or black. That unusual naming convention sets an almost fable-like tone for the entire novel, and rather than create a dreamlike atmosphere, that tone allows Hunt to put evil in stark relief.

Bethanne Patrick
Literary Hub

Hunt captures so effectively [the] contradictions in the white community, as ordinary people, some likable, prepare themselves to do evil, marking The Evening Road as one of the finest novels so far this year.

John Burnside
The Guardian

... the mesmeric, underwater feeling of Hunt’s prose.

Tim Martin
The Spectator

The three loosely related novels Laird Hunt has published since 2012 — Kind One, Neverhome, and The Evening Road — are perhaps my favorite recent body of work by an American author. The Evening Road is difficult subject matter — its story revolves around a historical lynching in Indiana — but its two women narrators are both intensely memorable characters, and through them Hunt deftly explores both the present evils and the possible grace of humanity.

Matt Bell

Anna Stein
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Translation Rights
Claire Nozieres
+44 (0)20 7393 4425
Email Claire Nozieres