A motherless boy explores loss and memory in this pitch-perfect novel. So imaginative. Loved it.
I gulped this brief book in a few sittings, finding its sadness hard to take and understand. I'd recently read "Ancestors," Maxwell's memoir. One of the main narrators in this books is clearly Maxwell in that memoir as a child, which shouldn't have confused me, but did. The novel does a wonderful job of using different points of view--even a dog!--and soon I was racing through the story. Maxwell starts off telling us exactly what he's about. The first chapter describes a murder. The second says that 50 yrs later, he remembered this murder "of a tenant farmer I never laid eyes on" because the murderer was the father of someone he knew, and later he did something he was ashamed of. The latter is really the crux of the story, but he tells the story of the murder itself and what led up to it, from all those different POVs. I will probably read this book again at some point once this reading has settled in my mind, something I rarely find a book important enough to do.
The prose is so lovely, the settings so lovingly limned out, the characters so rounded. Why am I reading anything but authors like this?
Who committed the murder is not the point. How everyone is affected is.
This is a wonderful novel. Nothing is wasted, as it is a relatively brief book, but it has such a strong sense of place and time. I can't recommend this novel enough. I found my way to it via another great writer, Charles Baxter.
Maxwell, well-known as an editor at the New Yorker, brings a keen eye to a small town story of murder and misunderstanding.
His period detail is fascinating without being overwhelming. Reminded me a bit of Kent Haruf , though the story was a bit grimmer than some of his
I read this book after learning that Ann Patchett recommends it as one of her favorites. She said, " ‘The novel comes from a place so deep inside the human soul that I cannot imagine a time its wisdom would not feel fresh and applicable." I agree with this sentiment. It brings to mind Julian Barnes' novel, The Sense of an Ending, in that the author is trying to recall events from many years ago and acknowledges the difficulty of finding the truth.
I simply could not let that 1 1/2 star average rating stand! This sad, lovely book is one of my all time favorites. What we do, and don't do, and how the omissions haunt us....
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