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So Long, See You Tomorrow Paperback – January 3, 1996

4.3 out of 5 stars 139 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This superb series of interviews and readings has expanded to include longer selections from its authors, in this case a short, autobiographical novel that won Maxwell the American Book Award in 1980. Set in Lincoln, Illinois, which Maxwell calls "my imagination's home," the story is modeled after incidents in Maxwell's youth: his mother's death when he was ten; his father's remarriage and their move to a new house; and Maxwell's relationship to a killer's son. Maxwell's narration, like his prose, is devoid of all theatrical effect: it is a quietly told story by a thoughtful man with something on his mind and in his heart. He is nevertheless traversing fairly familiar fictional ground. What is extraordinary about this program is his talk with Kay Bonetti, in which Maxwell, 87 at the time of this recording, discusses his life and work with a reflective honesty that is unmatched by any other author in the series. Maxwell's career also encompasses four decades as fiction editor of The New Yorker, and questions about the authors with whom he worked, such as John Cheever and J.D. Salinger, are met with the same directness and lucidity that characterize his prose. Recommended.?Peter Josyph, New York
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.


"One of the great books of our age. It is the subtlest of miniatures that contains our deepest sorrows and truths and love - all caught in a clear, simple style in perfect brushstrokes" -- Michael Ondjaate "A truly extraordinary novel... Maxwell has tapped a vein of strange, pure emotion" -- Philip Hensher Mail on Sunday "So magically deft at being profound...possesses that daunting quality impossible to emulate: it makes greatness seem simple" -- Richard Ford "Maxwell does something all great novelists do: he conjures depths of pain and regret in words of radiant simplicity" -- Anthony Quinn Observer "This calm, reflective and extraordinarily beautiful novel offers American fiction at its finest" Irish Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1st edition (January 3, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679767207
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679767206
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (139 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,182 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is my favorite book, by my favorite author. I could read it again and again have! It is his most cleanly drawn and tightly written work. Not a word more or less would perfect it. The story continues the exploration begun in "They Came Like Swallows", following the life of a sensitive middle child after the death of his mother during the great influenza epidemic of 1918. It questions the meaning of friendship, of love and consequences of passion. The child, who certainly seems to possess something of Maxwell himself, traces even into old age, the true meaning of relationships he formed at this period of his life. The end of the book is truly haunting and will stay with you for years. It speaks volumes about how the words that are unspoken in life are sometimes much more important than those that are spoken. How as we grow old, we remember all the things that we could have, should have said....Maxwell is truly one of our finest writers, underappreciated due in large part to his elegant restraint. His prose is as austere as it is powerful. It is truly an unforgettable novel.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent and engrossing novel that will captivate and draw you right into the story. On an early winter morning just before daybreak, three men hear a loud noise similar to a car backfiring. At first they dismiss it as just that, but it turns out to be a fatal shot that kills a farmer named Lloyd Wilson. The protagonist in the story was friends with the deceased man's son, Cletus. Using newspaper clippings, memories, and imagination, he tries to reconstruct the dramatic events that led to the shooting. Through the use of imagery, William Maxwell creates a story that is vivid in its depictions of rural life and the excruciating emotions people endure as a result of choices they make. This book takes the reader on a journey where one feels like a part of the world these people inhabit. The descriptive and evocative writing helps us to understand their pain and anxiety as we watch them live their lives. This is a terrific book and a great introduction to the literary talents of William Maxwell. Highly recommended!
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Format: Paperback
Maxwell has always been known as a very pure writer - honest sentiments in concrete images. Take this line from 'So Long, See You Tomorrow' about children sleeping in a quiet winter night as an example: 'sleeping the sleep of stone'.
Same for the book on the whole: a straight-forward and concise record of a painful childhood + a convincing and sympathetic account of what could have happened in the tragic murder/suicide that took place in the book. In the pages depicting Maxwell's childhood, you see images of the child agonizing over the death of his mother, the loss of a normal childhood, the bitterness against his father and a mixture of all these unresolved feelings which the grown up narrator narrates with great immediacy. The pictures are particularly heart-breaking as the writing is very subdued - everything is described for what it is and the author, while expressing his feelings directly, simply state what he feels without exaggeration. It is the kind of autobiographical writing that makes you understand why one writes autobiography and why all of us grieve over certain things that we think we've let go, or constantly hope we'll let go: some things will always be there, down deep, once they happen.
The fictional account of the murder/tragedy echoes Maxwell's story: how everyone has a heart and a right to their feelings; how we all get trapped in situations we cant control and break someone's heart or gets heart-broken. In a way, writing this story seems to be a way of coming to terms with things for Maxwell- to get over the bitterness against things gone wrong by understanding the complexities and inevitability of some situations.
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Format: Paperback
In reading William Maxwell's So Long, See You Tomorrow, I realized a few things. First of all, in my limited experience, I have yet to see a book which fulfills both its role as a novel as well as a vehicle for some conveyance by the author better than this one. Second, I realized that my review of this novel will be glowing and perhaps superfluously positive. Take this only as an extremely strong recommendation to read this book and not as an indication that I am a little crazy. The novel is an apology from the narrator to a boy from his childhood. The two were friends in the early 20th century Midwest, only to have this friendship shattered by the murder of one boy's father. The story of what happens to the boys after this event, and the feelings that the narrator must carry with him, are the basis for his need to apologize to his childhood friend, as well as the basis for a superbly written novel. William Maxwell uses narrative effortlessly. His flashbacks, flash forwards, and imaginations blend so seamlessly into the rest of the story that the reader is able to weave them into the plot with no difficulty. He wastes no words, and spends little time on description. Now I have heard people rave about novels because the author describes rural Montana so well, of gives such an accurate description of the ocean, but let me tell you that a novel like Maxwell's awards itself a much higher place in my literary hall of fame for not needing such description, which is often beautiful but seldom integral to the plot or theme. Instead he uses his words to describe the actions of the characters in the story, which in turn reveals much about them, which illuminates the different themes of the novel excellently. Maxwell uses his novel to a degree that most writers don't.Read more ›
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