This is such a special, special book. It’s one of those books that I want to carry next to my heart and cuddle, a constant reminder to just be. Be alive, be present, be Love. The Travelers by Regina Porter is a beautiful piece of literature, a work of art, a brilliant web of recent history. Written as a series of vignettes, each capturing a moment in time, a person, and a piece of history, the book weaves the lives of two extended families together.
There is no timeline in the book, the chapters hop back and forth over a period of 60 or so years (1950’s to 2010), and while Buckner County, Georgia is a somewhat central location, The Travelers takes us to LA, NYC, Vietnam, Berlin, among other places. Each chapter contains a new person a new location, a new story, and little by little we begin to see the bigger picture created by the lives of the characters, and how they are all tied together.
This book requires a certain amount of work from the reader, and cannot just be read with one eye open. There are many characters and storylines, and sometimes you have to stop for a minute and think about where this one or that one belongs. I loved this though, I felt like I was actually there, in each character’s life, learning more as I read, understanding more about the one who came before and the one who would come after. Readers shouldn’t be put off by the amount of characters, and by the fact that the story steps through time, because both elements make the book into something very special.
I also love how Regina Porter managed to get so many important themes and historical events in her novel without overwhelming the reader. There is the Jim Crow south, the Vietnam War, segregation and racism all over the US, Berlin in the Bowie years and after the wall comes down, the Bronx over the years, all types of relationships… I don’t want to add spoilers, so I won’t say anymore, but there are moments that will break your heart, and others that will teach you, events that will make you laugh, and others that will make you love harder.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the advance copy of this book – it’s not going to leave my mind for a while.