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Publisher's Summary

"American history comes to vivid, engaging life in this tale of two interconnected families (one white, one black) that spans from the 1950s to Barack Obama’s first year as president.... The complex, beautifully drawn characters are unique and indelible." (Entertainment Weekly)

"An astoundingly audacious debut." (O: The Oprah Magazine)

"A gorgeous generational saga." (New York Post)

Named one of the Best Books of the Year by Esquire

Finalist for The Pen/Hemingway Award for Debut Novel 

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.

Praise for The Travelers

“[A] kaleidoscopic début...Porter deftly skips back and forth through the decades, sometimes summarizing a life in a few paragraphs, sometimes spending pages on one conversation. As one character observes, ‘We move in circles in this life.’” (The New Yorker)

"Porter's electric debut is a sprawling saga that follows two interconnected American families.... Readers will certainly be drawn in by Porter’s sharp writing and kept hooked by the black-and-white photographs interspersed throughout the book, which give faces to the evocative voices." (Booklist)

©2019 Regina Porter (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"If you’re looking for a poetic, spare, sometimes funny tale of ordinary people pining for meaningful connections - or if you’re someone who wishes Raymond Carver had published a novel - you have arrived." (The New York Times Book Review)

"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, 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

"Porter’s fantastic debut novel is a whirl of characters spidering outward through time and space.... Beautifully written and intricately plotted." (Kirkus Reviews)

What listeners say about The Travelers

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  • Overall
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What a lovely maze!

It was a pleasure to read this book. All the characters were connected, just like humans really are. Jeez, I dislike that the ending is a cliff hanger. Awesome wtiter.

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too many characters.

struggled to finish. which I did only because it was our book club selection. Enough

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Unsatisfying ending

This book jumps around in time a lot. Unresolved ending for some of the characters. Made me sad.