Tom Connor's Gift, publication date Oct. 15, 2014

In his new novel, Tom Connor's Gift, Missoula author David Allan Cates writes the story of a widow who has fled her job and Wisconsin home to hole up in a Montana cabin. Six months before the novel's opening, the much beloved husband of 49-year-old Janine dies after a prolonged struggle with cancer. Now in Montana, she seeks understanding from an unexpected source: a cache of letters written by an old boyfriend, Tom Connor. The letters, which span nearly three decades, are set in relief against the backdrop of Janine's life. Tom's letters become a touchstone for the life she lived, ultimately becoming the pathway by which her grief—palpable, wise and ecstatic in Cates' precise and lyrical prose—might begin to dissipate. She doesn't quite know why, but she has to read Tom's letters before she can move on. "[E]ven as I grieve my husband's life," Janine admits early in the novel, "what I've brought are the letters that Tommy sent me." Azita Osanloo

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“David Allan Cates’s Tom Connor’s Gift is extraordinary. The prose is ravishing, the characters are surprising and irresistible, and many of its scenes are so intensely moving that they bring tears of gratitude and pleasure. The book praises long marriage and long friendship, but what I especially appreciate about its vision is how sexually liberating it is for both men and women. Cates is a fierce and fearless writer! One finishes this novel feeling wiser, more alive, and spiritually refreshed.”
­— David Huddle

“Sadness and madness, grief and delirium. Tom Connor’s Gift delivers us precious monsters: our first true love and our true lasting love. Coursing between anecdote and musing, this is a novel only grownups can understand. It is smart and ecstatic and will break your goddamn heart.”
­— Bryan Di Salvatore

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