So Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell

So Long See YouThis book was on the “Eighty Books You Must Read” list, this particular list special because all the books are picked by authors. Published in 1980, the story takes place in 1920s. This is the tale of two boys living in rural Illinois who are impacted by the murder of a man. “In this magically evocative novel, William Maxwell explores the enigmatic gravity of the past, which compels us to keep explaining it even as it makes liars out of us every time we try.”

Paula: This story is well written, but I found it really difficult to read in terms of my pain quotient. It is a  painful story, and I found the relationships hard to read about. Rate: 4.0

Gloria: I read the book about half way through and all of a sudden I was confused as to what the book was about.  For some reason I lost track of the story.  I went to the internet and read some reviews of the book to see what other readers were thinking about the book.  The reviews were great, yet I had been underwhelmed, to the point of not knowing who was who and what was what.  So I started reading the book from the beginning and this time I payed attention to the characters names and their relationships to the other characters but still had trouble following the story.  I think this happened for two reasons.  First, the long paragraphs and second was that the author kept flipping back in time to help explain the story.  Over all it was a sad tale about Cletus, whose father had killed Mr. Wilson (neighbor who was in love with Cletus’s mother) or was it about the narrator whose name you would be hard pressed to find in the book?  Towards the end of the book the narrator writes, “And to go on feeling guilty about something that happened so long ago is hardly reasonable, “ this spoke to me because so many times in my life I have felt guilty for the failings of others for no reason and it’s a haunting experience, maybe even one to write a book about. Rate: 3.0

Cindy:  The moment of reckoning, the unfinished reunion of the narrator and Cletus must resonate with many of us. That moment when we realize that we are at a loss for what to do and so, rather than face it, turn away. Only to leave us with that irritating? haunting? hollow? feeling that  we carry with us and that sometimes comes unbidden in the middle of the night or while walking on the beach. Oh, and let’s not forget to learn about how our memories trick us and because they are faulty, give rise to all sorts of mistaken notions about who we are and where we have been. I liked the book, but glad it was short. Another author might have strung out the theme and bored me. I learned that William Maxwell was also an editor and worked with many successful authors. I wonder whether his other books also have these qualities. Rate: 3.3

Laura: I enjoyed it because I love reading, but I was befuddled by what to say about it. Liked the period piece. Rate: 4.0

Robin: I enjoyed this book because of the wonderful character descriptions and words used by William Maxwell. He does not employ the physical descriptions which I find boring in many books, but describes characters through emotions, or physical characteristics that directly pull emotions, such as wrinkles and tired limbs and regrets. I love the whole maybe this is how it was but who can say aspect of the story. Is he remembering his friend or is he dealing with his own betrayals of childhood. Rate: 4.0

Speak Your Mind