For the first New Day of the new year, we chose the novel that “promises to be the year’s most unusual ghost story,” according to The Millions. Samantha Hunt’s new novel, Mr. Splitfoot, entangles orphans who talk to the dead, with a mute woman and her pregnant niece. Their stories swim through different seas to arrive at the same roaring river mouth (deepened by nearly intangible layers of detail). This is Hunt’s latest since her second novel, The Invention of Everything Else, was listed as a finalist for the Orange Prize in Fiction in 2009.
In a Washington Post review, Ron Charles wrote of the new novel, “This is grim material, to be sure, but layers of absurdity run through the story like fat through bacon…. [S]atirizing religious fanatics is like shooting fish in a baptismal font, and Hunt has something murkier in mind with this novel. She wants to explore that indeterminate zone that separates the upper atmosphere of chicanery from the faith that lies beyond.”