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. On a winter morning in the 1920s, a shot rings out on a farm in rural Illinois. A man named Lloyd Wilson has been killed. And the tenuous friendship between two lonely teenagers—one privileged yet neglected, the other a troubled farm boy—has been shattered. Fifty years later, one of those boys—now a grown man—tries to reconstruct the events that led up to the murder. Out of memory and imagination, the surmises of children and the destructive passions of their parents, Maxwell creates a luminous American classic of youth and loss.
What Ann Patchett says
Maxwell’s masterpiece, which weighs in at a mere 144 pages, contains as much life, range, and depth of emotion as its 1,000-page counterparts. It made me think that what is left unsaid can be as powerful as the words on the page.