Monday, August 21, 2006

81. "So Long, See You Tomorrow" ~ William Maxwell


The Smiths and the Wilsons are patient friends, each working someone else's land and suffering their own families. However, after Fern Smith falls in love with Lloyd Wilson, it shakes each family until the foundations crumble.

The narrator meets Cletus Smith, the son of Fern, in the empty house his father's contractors build in town after his mother dies. After the workers leave for the day, he and Cletus climb on beams, rummage through wood scraps, and always part with, "So long, see you tomorrow."

Maxwell doesn't skimp on details, yet this book is barely at a novella's length. It is a simple but psychologically complex look at regret, secrecy, and growing up. Each character is given equal opportunity to tell his or her story, at least as imagined by the narrator. Though we know from the first pages of a murder, the question of "why" will echo long after the book is closed.

4.8 out of 5.0 Lukas.

11 comments:

Pete said...

I've been meaning to read Maxwell's book for a while now (he's an Illinois native and a U of I grad, like myself) and your recommendation will probably prompt me to finally take the plunge.

Kristin Dodge said...

I read somewhere that this is semi-memoir, which is how I like my memoirs, personally... truth veiled in fiction.

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Christopher said...

As self appointed "surveyor of blog layouts," I am charged with telling you that the image of a book entitled "Talk Talk" is too big for your sidebar and is thus messing up the appearance of your blog.

The space alloted to your sidebar is only 240 pixels across, so the width of any images you place within it should be be less than 240 pixels.

Christopher said...

Also, I use comment moderation, rather than verification. I often find myself unable to make out the letters jumbled together, and thus rarely get verified on the first try.

I wish we didn't have to police our blogs like this, but after having to delete spam comments on every single one of my posts (twice in one day,) I decided to implement moderation.