A Fugitive in Walden Woods:
the fourth book of The American Novels series
Big Other “Most Anticipated Small Press Book” selection
In Norman Lock’s fourth book of The American Novels series, Samuel Long escapes slavery in Virginia, traveling the Underground Railroad to Walden Woods where he encounters Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, William Lloyd Garrison, and other transcendentalists and abolitionists. While Long will experience his coming-of-age at Walden Pond, his hosts will receive a lesson in human dignity, culminating in a climactic act of civil disobedience.
Against this historical backdrop, Lock’s powerful narrative examines issues that continue to divide the United States: racism, privilege, and what it means to be free in America.
PRAISE FOR A Fugitive in Walden Woods
“A Fugitive in Walden Woods manages that special magic of making Thoreau’s time in Walden Woods seem fresh and surprising and necessary right now. Norman Lock tells the story of Samuel Long, an escaped slave who encounters Thoreau, with insight and some welcome humor. This is a patient and perceptive novel, a pleasure to read even as it grapples with issues that affect the United States to this day.”
— Victor LaValle, author of The Ballad of Black Tom and The Changeling
“Portraying the traumatic psychological aftershock not of war but of slavery provides a convincing and complex narrative of new hardships faced by escaped slave Samuel Long in Norman Lock’s bold and enlightening novel A Fugitive in Walden Woods. It’s an important novel that creates a vivid social context for the masterpieces of such writers as Thoreau, Emerson, and Hawthorne and also offers valuable insights about our current conscious and unconscious racism.”
— Sena Jeter Naslund, author of Ahab’s Wife and The Fountain of St. James Court; or, Portrait of the Artist as an Old Woman
“Powerful . . . both in keeping with the work of some of the literary figures invoked in its pages and in terms of larger questions of race and privilege in America. Precisely structured and abounding with memorable characters, this novel invokes the past while feeling decidedly relevant to contemporary issues and debates.”
— Kirkus Reviews
NORMAN LOCK has written novels, short fiction, and poetry as well as stage plays, dramas for German radio, a film for The American Film Institute, and scenarios for video-art installations. His plays have been produced in the U.S., Germany, at the Edinburgh Theatre Festival, and in Turkey. His work has been translated into Dutch, German, Spanish, Turkish, Polish, Greek, and Japanese.
He received the Aga Kahn Prize, given by The Paris Review, the Literary Fiction Prize, given by The Dactyl Foundation of the Arts & Humanities, fellowships from the New Jersey Council on the Arts, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Lock can be contacted by email at normanglock [at] gmail [dot] com and by regular mail at 33 Aberdeen Road, Apt. 355A, Tree Haven III, Aberdeen, NJ 07747-1153.