Tuesday, April 1, 2014

So Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell

An older book and a well-written classic, So Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell paints a picture of life in the Midwest in the 1920s. It is the story of two thirteen-year old boys who become friends when each is drawn to spend time at a home-construction site after school. Each boy is experiencing upheaval in his life and seeks a release from family distress at the half-built home.  The house is to be the home of the story’s narrator, a middle-class town boy.  He had lost his mother to the flu epidemic of 1919. His father, after remarrying, wanted a new home for his new wife and so contracts for the building of the new house. The other boy, Cletus, is the son of a tenant farmer. He spends time at the house to escape the palpable tension between his mother and father. Every afternoon the boys meet and climb on the frame of the house. They become friends although they scarcely exchange a word. Then Cletus’s world is destroyed by a murder and he disappears from the narrator’s life. The power of this book lies in the author’s ability to create a sympathetic inner life for each of his characters. Although the book is peopled with stoic, taciturn Midwesterners, the reader is easily able to empathize with everyone in this book as they deal with pain, confusion and loss, even the family dog. 

Check out So Long, See You Tomorrow @ the library!