The Bukowski Agency - All True Not a Lie in It

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US: Ecco/HarperCollins, Aug 2016
Canada: Knopf, Feb 2015
Canada and UK Audio: Audible
China: Ginkgo Book Company


Alix Hawley
(Photo courtesy of the author)

Alix Hawley’s first novel, All True Not a Lie in It, a revisionist take on the life of Daniel Boone in his own words, was released in the USA by Ecco in August 2016. Knopf released it in Canada in 2015; it won the First Novel Award and was longlisted for the Giller Prize. Alix earned her doctorate in English Literature at Oxford and a Master’s degree in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. She published a story collection, The Old Familiar (Thistledown Press), in 2008. She resides in Kelowna, British Columbia, with her husband and two children.

All True Not a Lie in It

a novel by Alix Hawley


“Questions of honor, ownership and conquest are posed with a sensitivity that departs strikingly from the rugged posturing often associated with Boone’s story. Throughout, Hawley is careful not to allow contemporary mores to color this often surprisingly tranquil and original portrait of an individual who loomed large in our nation’s rapacious westward expansion.”— The NEW YORK TIMES

“Alix Hawley has written a boldly original, mysterious, and provocative novel-the demythologizing of an American icon (Daniel Boone) and his reinvention as a figure of poetic luminosity. She is Cormac McCarthy's young heiress, with a light and forgiving heart.”— JOYCE CAROL OATES

“This rich and wonderful novel imagines us so deeply into the mind of Daniel Boone that the stuff of his legend—the explorations, the conquests, the super-athlete woodsman feats—seem almost incidental to the soul-twisting trajectory of his intimate life. Family, love and loss, the longing for home, the intensity with which Boone lived these dramas help to explain the superhuman drive of this man, and Alix Hawley brilliantly renders every aspect of his story.”— BEN FOUNTAIN, author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

“A stunning debut that will stand the test of time. Hawley's book is a deep dive into the character and mindset of one of the most legendary figures of the American Frontier. Though it is accurate down to the smallest detail-every page reads as shimmeringly, intensely real-the novel wears its historical mantle lightly. It is stylistically and psychologically brilliant, truly a great novel.”— PHILIPP MEYER, author of The Son

All True Not A Lie In It - coverTold in his inimitable, haunting voice, All True Not a Lie in It hinges on Daniel Boone’s captivity by the Shawnee during the Revolutionary War, after the kidnapping and rescue of one child and the murder of another.

Frontiersman and trailblazer Daniel Boone is known to every American schoolchild mostly for fighting bears and Indians. The myths that surround him are legion. But few are aware that his Quaker family was banished from their settlement, beginning the peripatetic life that he continued until his last days, searching for a paradise that he could call his own, and for safety both from the Indians upon whose territory he was constantly impinging and from the conflicts of competing colonial stakeholders. Known today as a fierce Indian-fighter, he in fact was as small man who abhorred violence, respected Native people, and was adopted by them.

Alix Hawley fleshes out this one-dimensional folk hero so that we penetrate deep within his psyche: the charismatic politician, businessman, and soldier who was also a slave-owner; the husband who struggled to mollify his wife, whom he frequently abandoned with their children while he wandered eighteenth-century America, or dragged with him while cutting a trail through the wilderness that hundreds of thousands would eventually follow; and the loving father whose actions led directly to the torture and murder of his son.

All True Not a Lie in It climaxes with Boone’s capture by the Shawnee in 1778, when he came to be treated like a beloved son by the chief whose son he had killed while rescuing his own daughter. The unique voice Alix Hawley has found for Boone provides an incredibly intriguing inner journey for a figure who these days seems only a tall tale. It’s a brilliant first novel, replete with storytelling that is taut and expert, descriptions that are rich and intense, and prose that is full of feeling, especially about Daniel's love and longing. Its finely honed language is reminiscent of earlier novels like The Last of the Mohicans, but also feels completely contemporary. Alix Hawley has masterfully imagined the experience of settling America through the eyes and the heart of one of its most famous settlers.


All True Not A Lie In It - Canadian paperback cover

“Hawley's marvelous book shines light on a figure that has become more legend than man, sharing an intimate and raw portrayal of Boone that rings true.”— PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

“The world [Boone] describes, full of squalor and natural beauty and blood, is richly detailed, and the dialogue sharp and well-trimmed.”— KIRKUS REVIEWS

“A book of great sympathy and sadness. Hawley’s intimate version of Daniel Boone is a wonderful character, intelligent and self-aware, even if he can’t stop himself from being himself.”— THE WALRUS

“Hawley masterfully creates both a dreamlike world and a fearful fantasy. We get to know her Boone intimately, the narrowness of his childhood existence, the idealization of his dead brother, Israel, whom Boone strives his entire life to emulate, and the trauma caused by the loss of his son. The unremitting cruelty and turbulence of the 18th-century frontier environment is palpable. The country is vast, but the deep, almost suffocating forest, where death can lurk behind any tree, keeps one from seeing clearly, and friend or foe can appear or disappear in an instant. … The book's magic, however, is in Hawley's treatment of Boone's inner life. All True Not a Lie In It, published, appropriately, under Knopf Canada's New Face of Fiction imprint, may come closer to disclosing the "real" Daniel Boone than those who originally manufactured and perpetuated his myth. ”— QUILL & QUIRE, starred review

“I am so glad this novel will be published in the U.S. later in 2016, as it gets inside the mind of one of America's most enduring pioneer folk heroes and strips him bare. Early pioneer Daniel Boone is mostly known for his coonskin cap, but in Hawley's version he is a peculiar man with a habit of leaving his family to go hunting and taking years to return. Hawley writes about Boone's relationship with Native Americans and with the harsh landscape he survives in a manner both dreamlike and enthralling.”— TRACY CHEVALIER, author of Girl With a Pearl Earring

“Hawley’s skills are impressive indeed. In her hands, Boone comes to life in a way that even long-time aficionados will find surprising and affecting…. If Boone doesn’t come across here as the larger-than-life hero he is usually depicted as being, this is nonetheless mythmaking, though of a different sort. Hawley’s Boone is a hero for these times, and All True Not A Lie In It is a powerful reminder of the fact behind the legend, of how fiction can arrive at fundamental, troubling human truths. The manner in which the book ends, with less than half of Boone’s life behind him, at a critical juncture and point of inestimable suspense leaves one almost breathless for the sequel, which Hawley is apparently currently writing. It can’t come soon enough.”— VANCOUVER SUN

“Atmospheric and beautifully written ..... the story retains an insistent allure.”— TORONTO STAR

“Anyone interested in American history will enjoy this booK.”— WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

“Hawley’s ability to convey the menace of paradise is overwhelming, as well as her ability to make the reader share in the sorrows of her hero.”— NATIONAL POST

“Alix Hawley's resurrection of the great woodsman, Daniel Boone, is astonishingly, uncannily vivid. Lightly stitched to the sparse historical record, this is not a picture of the frontier itself so much as the restless spirits of exploration, love, memory, and greed that drove Boone – “the white Indian” – west through the wilderness. His voice cracks like a musket shot across these pages – brave, confused, and yearning – and Hawley's close, dream-like perspective lends a hallucinatory aspect to her prose, as if we are looking out Boone's eyes at those lost landscapes and faces. An amazing debut.”— REGINA MARLER, literary critic and book reviewer

“Alix Hawley has really done a number on an American folk hero. With vivid imagery and a strong, dreamlike voice, she confidently strips away the myth of Daniel Boone to reveal the strange, pulsing man underneath. It is a remarkable feat and a remarkable book.”— TRACY CHEVALIER, author of Last Runaway and Girl with a Pearl Earring

“An extraordinary feat of backwoods ventriloquism, carried off with great flair and conviction, across the boundaries of custom, time and gender. Alix Hawley invests afresh in the voice of Daniel Boone and his tough familiars, bringing shock and sensuality, but also surprising tenderness, to the famously rugged frontier myth.”— RICHARD HOLMES, author of The Age of Wonder

All True Not a Lie in It moves with surety and grace through legends and landscapes trod by more than a few major artists. Watching Alix Hawley negotiate this challenging terrain, via Daniel Boone, of all American stories, is a serious literary thrill. An audacious debut.”— CHARLES FORAN, author of Planet Lolita and Mordecai: The Life and Times

“Alix Hawley's debut novel is audacious and bold, like an early Ondaatje, with writing that is luscious, lyrical, and bloodthirsty. Like Hawley's narrator, Daniel Boone, All True Not a Lie In It, constantly seeks out new ground, wrapping the reader in a landscape of language and dream.”— ALEXI ZENTNER, author of Touch and The Lobster Kings

“‘Genius’ is a word I hesitate to use in a review; Hawley’s work requires it.”— THE GLOBE AND MAIL on Alix Hawley’s story collection The Old Familiar

“I fell in love with Alix Hawley’s Daniel Boone, a man drawn to the beating heart of the wild landscape that stretches beyond his known world, and who risks recklessly to preserve his freedom.”— FRANCES GREENSLADE, author of Shelter


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