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So Long, See You Tomorrow

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  5,579 Ratings  ·  837 Reviews
On an Illinois farm in the 1920s, a man is murdered, and in the same moment the tenous friendship between two lonely boys comes to an end. In telling their interconnected stories, American Book Award winner William Maxwell delivers a masterfully restrained and magically evocative meditation on the past.
Paperback, 135 pages
Published 1998 by Harvill (first published 1979)
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Sara A well-phrased question, John. I just this morning finished this book and, yes, there seems to me to be a deeply compassionate and only-in-the-Midwest…moreA well-phrased question, John. I just this morning finished this book and, yes, there seems to me to be a deeply compassionate and only-in-the-Midwest type of kindness in the voice. It was lovely.(less)

Community Reviews

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William1
This is a little masterpiece of narrative compression. Though only 135 pages long, it can seem at times that whole paragraphs of unwritten backstory are suggested by every line, every image. A rundown of the plot will not give you a sense of the high level of mastery involved here, but here it is anyway. In the early 1920s one married farmer befriends another married farmer then steals his wife. Both marriages break up. The adulterous wife--Fern Smith--sues her husband for divorce and wins on gr ...more
Melanie
Jun 09, 2013 Melanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Speechless... That was extraordinary.

(24 hours later)

I knew I was in for something special when I heard Richard Ford saying that this was one of his all-time favourite books but I didn't expect this level of amazement and mastery as I zipped through these 150 pages on a rainy October Sunday. How did someone manage to pack so much humanity in such a tiny work of art? The last time I felt such mind blowing concision was when I read "The Great Gatsby" for the first time. Every single sentence conta
...more
Carol
This is miniature tour de force…powerful, moving and beautifully written in a spare writing style that evokes a profound sense of place. It’s no secret that this novella is an old man’s recollection of a tragic episode from his childhood…a love triangle and murder in a small, Illinois farm town in the early 1920s. Yet, this story reveals much more than an account of a crime of passion. This slender novel is about childhood memories, nostalgia and dealing with loss, guilt and haunting regrets.

Alm
...more
Teresa
May 18, 2012 Teresa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Teresa by: Mikki
I've said before that the ending of a work can make the work for me, and such is the case here. Not that the beginning wasn't wonderful, it was; in fact, the end reflects back to the beginning, another of my favorite things. And as I approached the end, I lingered over the sentences, rereading them: slight though they may seem, they are so worth it.

This slim novel is a perfect example of why a writer writes, how an incident can linger and fester until he works it out of his thoughts and memories
...more
Perry
Jan 05, 2017 Perry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Most Vehement Flame

"jealousy is cruel as the grave:
the coals thereof are coals of fire,
which hath a most vehement flame"

Solomon 8:6, King James Bible


This short novel about a 1921 murder-suicide in a small Illinois farming town mesmerized me. Written as the recollection of the narrator's friendship with another 14-year-old and his reconstruction of events from newspaper accounts fifty years on after he cannot shake a lingering memory of the last time he saw his friend, whose father killed his
...more
Sue
Too many conflicting emotional interests are
involved for life ever to be wholly acceptable, and
possibly it is the work of the storyteller to
rearrange things so that they conform to this end.
In any case, in talking about the past we lie with
every breath we draw.
(p 27)

In this shattering, though very simple, piece, Maxwell writes the story of mid-western boys, one looking back on his childhood and remembering the other boy caught up in the vortex of a murder on a farm. The details sound bare
...more
Connie
Aug 18, 2016 Connie rated it really liked it
William Maxwell wrote a semi-autobiographical novel about two lonely boys whose lives briefly intersect. Although he is now an old man, he still feels guilt that he did not reach out and offer support to his friend after a tragedy.

The narrator's life fell apart when his mother died in the influenza epidemic of 1918. His family members each grieved privately, but no one talked about their feelings. It was a difficult time for the sensitive ten-year-old boy.

The second great loss occurs a few years
...more
Mikki
Sep 20, 2009 Mikki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rarely do I find myself re-reading books since there are just way too many on my bucket list and time is steadily counting down. However, the other day, when my feed showed TWO people adding William Maxwell's So Long, See You Tomorrow, I figured that it must be a sign, so pushing my other reading aside, I grabbed my copy of the book and asked Anne if I could read along. She said "Yes!". It was the best decision I'd made in a while.

You see, I first read this book in early 2009. It was my introduc
...more
Fionnuala
May 29, 2015 Fionnuala added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who know dogs can talk
Written more than forty years after They Came Like Swallows, this book takes up the story of Bunny where it left off in that book. But the name Bunny is not used in this book; he has become the narrator, and he is never given a name, as far as I can recall - I read it very fast, perhaps too fast.
Unlike Swallows, this book isn't all about one family but branches out into an almost unrelated story about another couple of families during the same period, 1920s, state of Illinois. Maxwell makes the
...more
orsodimondo
Dec 22, 2014 orsodimondo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: americana
LA PERDITA DELL' INNOCENZA, IL CONFINE DELLA MATURITÀ
William Maxwell è stato l’editor più importante della rivista The New Yorker dal 1936 al 1975, dall’età di 28 a quella di 67 anni: per tre giorni alla settimana era in redazione a fare l’editor (di gente come Nabokov, Updike, Salinger, Cheever, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Mavis Gallant, Frank O’Connor, Maeve Brennan, Eudora Welty, John O’Hara e altri) e per quattro giorni restava a casa a scrivere la sua letteratura.
“So Long, See You Tomorrow”, pub
...more
Melanie
May 15, 2016 Melanie rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction-i-own
I love it when an author can tell a "big" story in so few words. This is the sad telling of the aftermath of murder which occurred in a rural community in the 1920's. We even get to hear the dog's prospective (which is heartbreaking by the way). Good book. I would recommend to most everyone.
Maria Headley
Sep 02, 2007 Maria Headley rated it it was amazing
I don't know how I'd never read this before. It's particularly silly, because I've read possibly three entire books about William Maxwell, and certainly plenty of his New Yorker stuff, just in the way one reads randomly bits of things over the years, and they accrue, and one day, you realize, Hello, I haven't read any books by this writer that EVERYONE ADORES. Maxwell was an incredible person by all accounts - I read MY MENTOR, the Alec Wilkinson book about him, as well as a straight bio, and an ...more
Doug H
Sep 19, 2016 Doug H rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great writing and I liked the story-within-a-story framing, but the large cast of characters with similar surnames confused me at times. I also cared a lot more about Trixie the dog than any of the humans, but maybe that was intentional. Poor thing.
Carmo
Jan 18, 2016 Carmo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: norte-americanos
4.5*

"Maxwell consegue algo que só os maiores romancistas conseguem: transforma a dor e as mágoas profundas em palavras de uma brilhante simplicidade."
Anthony Quinn, Observer

Um livro precioso, uma escrita delicada de uma subtileza que nos leva a desvendar nas entrelinhas o que de mais profundo nos conta. Uma história de amizades, amores, traições, crime e arrependimento. Um regresso ao passado e uma tentativa de recriação e redenção.

Só não leva 5* porque o antecessor, Vieram como Andorinhas, cons
...more
Jon
Dec 25, 2015 Jon rated it really liked it
At 135 pages, this is a book slight in length and deceptively simple in plot, yet powerful in it’s depiction of love and loss. Set in 1921, in a small rural mid-western town, the book opens with a murder. On one cold winter morning, a single shot rings out just before daybreak and a local tenant farmer, Lloyd Wilson, is found dead that morning in his barn. There is little that’s mysterious about the crime, Smith had been having an affair with his best friend’s wife and the friend, Clarence Smith ...more
Douglas
Nov 03, 2013 Douglas rated it it was amazing
“Love, even of the most ardent and soul-destroying kind, is never caught by the lens of the camera.”

Oh, man. What have I stepped into with this book? There’s no way a single read is sufficient for me to review this burning revelation of the soul.

“How was it that she didn’t realize it was going to last such a short time.”

If anyone should ever ask me to recommend a work of fiction that sums up the human condition, passing this book along, I’ll reply, “Sit down. Read this. And don’t get up until y
...more
Jimmy
Jul 27, 2010 Jimmy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel, male, year-1970s
4.5 stars. I listened to a story on NPR the other day about how the police can often tell if a suspect is lying because the lies are elaborated fully with so much detail, as if to make up for the fabrication, whereas the truth is often very simple.

This book reminded me of that because it is elaborate and full of detail, from the history of the town to the history of each character to the description of one thing or another that strikes the reader as something nobody would just make up, so that t
...more
Hugo
Jan 02, 2017 Hugo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
"– Nunca antes na minha vida tinha sido feliz – disse ele – e agora não vou abdicar de o ser."

O livro é uma lembrança do narrador que tem carregado ao longo de vários anos o arrependimento de ter falhado ao seu amigo num encontro casual quando ainda eram jovens, por não ter falado quando teve oportunidade de o fazer, por ter fingido desconhecê-lo e ao crime que os separou. Maxwell debruça-se sobre a infância do narrador, um miúdo sensível e sozinho, órfão de mãe e com um pai muitas vezes ausente
...more
Richard Derus
Apr 08, 2017 Richard Derus rated it really liked it
Rating: 4.5* of five

My review was a surprise to me, funnily enough. All the way through the book, loaded as always with Author Maxwell's beautiful prose, I was sure that this later-career effort would get not-quite four stars. But then something happened.
João Carlos
Oct 09, 2014 João Carlos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: l2014
Depois de ler o magnífico romance “Vieram Como Andorinhas” do escritor norte-americano William Maxwell (1908-2000) era inevitável a leitura de “Adeus, Até Amanhã” publicado em 1980.
Em 1920, numa manhã de Inverno, pouco antes do amanhecer ouve-se um tiro, Lloyd Wilson é morto a tiro, ao cadáver cortaram e levaram uma orelha – e é com esta cena que começa um longo flashback, em que são reconstruídos minuciosamente acontecimentos e factos ligados a duas famílias vizinhas – os Wilson e os Smith.
Wi
...more
Carla
Jul 09, 2014 Carla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

“Ela estava ao fogão, de avental, a mergulhar os pratos do jantar numa panela com água quente. Tinha mudado o candeeiro para uma estante mais alta que a sua cabeça e a luz descia-lhe sobre a nuca, o sítio onde as mulheres e as crianças expressam a sua vulnerabilidade. Olhando para os cabelos loiros e suaves que tinham escapado ao pente, pensou em todas essas pessoas que, por causa da religião, se tinham ajoelhado numa grande ansiedade e a quem tinham cortado a cabeça. O seu peito estava inundado
...more
Vale
So long, see you tomorrow

Il breve romanzo di William Maxwell, finalista Pulitzer nel 1981, ha coloriture del sud che richiamano i temi cari al primo Capote e a Eudora Welty e Harper Lee. La storia è semplice: due adolescenti si salutano alla fine di una qualsiasi giornata di giochi, ma non si vedranno più perché la tragedia irromperà nella vita di uno dei due. La voce narrante è uno dei due ragazzi, ormai uomo, che in un lungo flashback ci porta a rivivere i tormenti e le incomprensioni di quand
...more
Diane
May 22, 2013 Diane rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best novellas I have read in years. I sought it out after learning that Ann Patchett lists it as one of her favorite books.

The story is very simple: It's a man trying to make sense of a murder that happened in his small town in Illinois in the 1920s. The narrator, who himself had a rough childhood because his mother died when he was young, was once friends with a boy whose father was the accused murderer. The narrator now feels guilty that he didn't try to help the boy back th
...more
Edan
Dec 11, 2009 Edan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I should have read this in a single sitting, but I couldn't--or wouldn't--point is, I didn't, and I regret it. This novel is not only beautiful and heartbreaking in the way that STONER by John Williams is beautiful and heartbreaking, it's also quite surprising in its use of point of view. It reminded me a little of SPEAK, MEMORY, Nabokov's memoir that plays a lot with memory and fiddling with images and moments from the past. Maxwell does something similar here, with the narrator's imagined vers ...more
Banushka
Feb 21, 2017 Banushka rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
çocukluğun anlatıldığı romanlara karşı zaafım var. ve bunu daha önce de dile getirmiştim bizde pek olmayan bir biçimde anlatılabiliyor yabancı romanlarda çocukluk. son dönemlerde çok beğendiğim yazarların çoğunun ortak noktası bu: roy jacobsen, ralf rothmann, per petterson, alejandro zambra... ilk aklıma gelenler. ailelerini, o dönemi didik didik eden, detaylarla dolu romanlar.
william maxwell de "hadi, yarın görüşürüz"de bunu ustalıkla yapmış. ve hatta yazarlık dersi verir gibi anlatıcı önce çoc
...more
Cynthia
May 10, 2013 Cynthia rated it it was amazing
The depth of the emotional insight is what makes this book important. It's sad, it's tragic, it's nostalgic.

When he veers into the dog's perspective of the loss of her family you'll cry your eyes out. And I know this pet perspective has been overdone lately but in "So Long, See you Tomorrow" it's something you won't want to miss imo. Such a small book, what a large impact.
Fabian
Jun 27, 2016 Fabian rated it liked it
Not even a bleep upon the literary radar. Minor, with interspersed Gothickish elements here and there. Nothing to write home about!

... Bleh.
Celeste Corrêa
«Duvido muito de que me lembrasse durante mais de cinquenta anos do assassínio de um rendeiro no qual eu nunca tinha posto os olhos se (1) o assassino não fosse o pai de alguém que eu conhecia, e (2) eu não tivesse feito depois uma coisa da qual me haveria de arrepender mais tarde. Esta memória – se assim se pode chamar – é um carrossel, vã maneira de emendar.»

À maneira do extraordinário «Vieram como Andorinhas», a escrita é sóbria, elegante e comedida.
«Adeus, até amanhã» é um livro/memória sobr
...more
Tom
Dec 15, 2008 Tom rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels
The most heart-breaking novel I've ever read (with John Williams' Stoner a close second). I've read it several times, taught it twice, and the ending never fails to put a lump in my throat.
Deniz Balcı
Feb 24, 2017 Deniz Balcı rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maxwell, yazarlığından çok editörlüğü ile tanıdığımız bir isim. Edebiyat künyelerinde, ismi, hep değerli isimlerin yanında geçmiştir. O yüzden Türkçede bir kitabı yayımlanınca hemen okumak istedim. "Hadi Yarın Görüşürüz" bir üstkurmaca. Yazar, çocukluğunda kalan bir vicdan sızlamasından yola çıkarak; yaşanmış bir olayı kendince kurgulayıp tamamlamış ve vicdanını da bir nevi yatıştırmış. Bu anlamda anlatıcı kendisi iken; hikayenin asıl kahramanları anlatılan olarak yer almış. Kurgunun gücünü çok ...more
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William Keepers Maxwell Jr. was an American novelist, and fiction editor at the New Yorker. He studied at the University of Illinois and Harvard University. Maxwell wrote six highly acclaimed novels, a number of short stories and essays, children's stories, and a memoir, Ancestors (1972). His award-winning fiction, which is increasingly seen as some of the most important of the 20th Century, has r ...more
More about William Maxwell...

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“What we, or at any rate what I, refer to confidently as memory--meaning a moment, a scene, a fact that has been subjected to a fixative and thereby rescued from oblivion--is really a form of storytelling that goes on continually in the mind and often changes with the telling. Too many conflicting emotional interests are involved for life ever to be wholly acceptable, and possibly it is the work of the storyteller to rearrange things so that they conform to this end. In any case, in talking about the past we lie with every breath we draw.” 48 likes
“His sadness was of the kind that is patient and without hope.” 27 likes
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