Mikki's Reviews > So Long, See You Tomorrow

So Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
2757888
's review
May 06, 12

bookshelves: american-literature
Read in March, 2009, read count: Twice

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 introduction to William Maxwell and I had no idea what to expect. I certainly didn't imagine that my mind would unhinge--intoxicated by the quiet beauty of the writing and lead me to "drunk" order everything on Amazon available by the man and then go on a month long binge! But, yes. I read one after another and at such speed that they all pretty much turned into one epic novel -- story-lines meshed and characters crossed over from one book to another and even the covers started looking alike. A mistake that I see clearly now.

It was with this reading that I actually realized how masterfully Maxwell guides us through two stories with one encircling the other and the importance of this narrative structure. The book opens and closes in the present with the narrator looking back at a murder which occurred fifty years earlier during his childhood and regretting his own choices made and failure at being a better friend,.

It's such a simple tale, really, about family and loving and loss and showing how our pasts are always very much still "present" inside. It's about all of the "what if" in life and none of the here's why. The language is spare but rich in detail, and there is a poignancy that will cause you to smile sadly because he got it just right.

I can honestly say that my appreciation for William Maxwell (and this book in particular) has greatly matured -- this is real whereas before it was just puppy love.


18 likes · likeflag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read So Long, See You Tomorrow.
sign in »

Comments (showing 1-43)




dateUp_arrow    newest »

message 43: by Anne (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anne Great review! I love your last line. I guess I'm still in the puppy love stage, having only read this one book.


Mikki Thank you,Anne. But you really don't know how thankful I am that you encouraged me to read it again -- there is so much that a reader (at least in my case) cannot really see the first time because there is a lot going on. I may have to re-read his other works too.

And I'm really glad that you liked it and don't worry, puppy love is good.


message 41: by Anne (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anne I want to read other books by him. What should I read next?


Mikki The thing about Maxwell is that thematically his books are often the same -- boy from Illinois, unable to cope with mother's death, loners. Autobiographical.

I'd say to read Time Will Darken It and who knows, I might be reading it right beside you.


message 39: by Declan (new)

Declan I also read this book some years back, but haven't rated it here because I can't remember exactly what I felt about it at that time (except that I know I liked it). I hope that, prompted by the enthusiasm you both express,I can find the time to reread it.


message 38: by Anne (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anne Mikki wrote: "The thing about Maxwell is that thematically his books are often the same -- boy from Illinois, unable to cope with mother's death, loners. Autobiographical.

I'd say to read Time Will Darken It a..."


Good. TWDI was the one I thought of reading next because of your 5 star review.


message 37: by Judy (new) - added it

Judy Great review, Mikki! Please don't forget to invite me to the wedding. (hint hint)LOL!

So, which book should a long-distance admirer read first?


Mikki Thanks, Declan. I too hope that you can make time for a re-read; it's such a powerful little book. So many subtle details and passages that I missed on my initial reading.


message 35: by Mikki (last edited May 07, 2012 05:19PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mikki Anne wrote: "Good. TWDI was the one I thought of reading next because of your 5 star review..."

I'd love to read that again as well and give it a proper review. I was just too busy gulping these books down! :)

Judy wrote: "Great review, Mikki! Please don't forget to invite me to the wedding. (hint hint)LOL!

So, which book should a long-distance admirer read first?"


Thanks, Judy, I'd suggest starting here with So Long, See You Tomorrow or perhapsTime Will Darken It which is a more straight forward story. Both are excellent and you can't go wrong.


message 34: by Anne (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anne Mikki, why did you write "for a reader with patience" on your review of TWDI?


Mikki Because it's slow and character driven much like Stoner which is not for everyone.


message 32: by Anne (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anne I loved Stoner. I read it a while ago, but don't remember it being slow. Maybe I had more patience for such books back then.


Teresa Another author to add to my "list!"


Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist" Awesome review, Mikki. You and I read this one for the first time just a few months apart. Unlike you, I haven't been able to get through any of his other works.

"It's such a simple tale, really, about family and loving and loss and showing how our pasts are always very much still "present" inside. It's about all of the "what if" in life and none of the here's why. The language is spare but rich in detail, and there is a poignancy that will cause you to smile sadly because he got it just right."

This paragraph is spot on, and what's so amazing about a book telling a tale from so long ago that can still bring us in by stirring up our own experiences.


Mikki Teresa wrote: "Another author to add to my "list!""

Teresa, you really must and I would suggest that you start with this book because it's unique in format and something special.


Mikki Jeanette wrote: "This paragraph is spot on, and what's so amazing about a book telling a tale from so long ago that can still bring us in by stirring up our own experiences...."

Jeanette, thank you so much. You know, as I read this the second time, I recognized many of the same themes which we spoke about on your review of the Barnes novel. I marked the passages in order to discuss further with you.


Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist" Oh wow! Yeah, I hadn't even thought of comparing the two books, but from what I remember of this one, there's definitely some similar themes. Now I've got to get myself another copy of this one.


Teresa Mikki wrote: "You know, as I read this the second time, I recognized many of the same themes which we spoke about on your review of the Barnes novel."

Julian Barnes? If so, that would be another plus in its favor for me.


message 25: by Mikki (last edited May 07, 2012 04:53PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mikki Yes, Teresa, there were many similar themes that ran through both books -- the unintentional harm we cause others in our actions and non-actions as well as the accuracy of memory and how stories adjust with every telling.


Teresa Mikki wrote: "Yes, Teresa, there were many similar themes that ran through both books -- the unintentional harm we cause others in our actions and non-actions as well as the accuracy of memory and how stories ad..."

I've already requested this from the library. Thanks, Mikki.


Mikki Oh, great! I'll be eagerly awaiting your thoughts.


Teresa Mikki wrote: "Oh, great! I'll be eagerly awaiting your thoughts."

I'll also go over and read your discussion with Anne at her review after I'm done.


Mikki Yes, good idea and then we can also discuss on your review as well. I'm up for talking about Maxwell anywhere! :)


message 20: by Anne (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anne Mikki wrote: "Yes, good idea and then we can also discuss on your review as well. I'm up for talking about Maxwell anywhere! :)"

:)


Teresa Mikki wrote: "Yes, good idea and then we can also discuss on your review as well. I'm up for talking about Maxwell anywhere! :)"

Perfect! I won't be getting to it immediately but pretty soon.


message 18: by Sue (last edited May 08, 2012 08:52PM) (new) - added it

Sue Everyone's enthusiasm is very catchy. I'm going to add this to my list too but I don't know when I'll get to it. I have so many on my schedule right now.

Actually I see it's already on my list!! so now it's just a matter of scheduling.


message 17: by Tajma (new) - added it

Tajma Oh, Mikki, what a nice review. I remember very clearly your Maxwell "binge" as I was on a Richard Yates "binge" at the time and the two writers are so connected. I am more familiar with Maxwell the editor than Maxwell the writer and it's high time I changed that. I'll start with this one.


Mikki Haha, Sue is now re-adding books. Don't worry, I'm worse and always repurchasing books that I already own!

Thanks, Taj, yep, you remember my Maxwell binge. I'm going to reread all of those books next year and the others that I never got to.


message 15: by Teresa (last edited May 09, 2012 09:48AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Teresa Tajma wrote: "Oh, Mikki, what a nice review. I remember very clearly your Maxwell "binge" as I was on a Richard Yates "binge" at the time and the two writers are so connected. I am more familiar with Maxwell the..."

I've only read Yates' Revolutionary Road -- loved it! I want to read more by him one day, Tajma. What do you suggest?


message 14: by Tajma (new) - added it

Tajma Teresa, I loved Cold Spring Harbour and A Good School. There is also an excellent bio of Yates by Blake Bailey that kept me enthralled for days. If you want Yates in short doses, his collected short stories is also quite good.


Teresa Tajma wrote: "Teresa, I loved Cold Spring Harbour and A Good School. There is also an excellent bio of Yates by Blake Bailey that kept me enthralled for days. If you want Yates in short doses, his collected shor..."

Thanks for the recommendations, Tajma. I own his "Collected Stories" so I'm sure that's where I'll start ... one day!


message 12: by Sue (new) - added it

Sue Tajma I was wondering about Yates too. Thanks for the ideas. The Collected Stories sounds good. Of the novels, which would you suggest?

Mikki, maybe a buddy read of Maxwell next year. My God...I have to live forever. I have books scheduled that long.


Mikki Sue wrote: "Tajma I was wondering about Yates too. Thanks for the ideas. The Collected Stories sounds good. Of the novels, which would you suggest?

Mikki, maybe a buddy read of Maxwell next year. My God...I have to live forever. I have books scheduled that long..."


Hahaha, we'll be some decrepit little things, still on GR or some other site, yapping away and turning pages. I'm in!


message 10: by Anne (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anne I'm in too!


Cynthia Teresa wrote: "Tajma wrote: "Teresa, I loved Cold Spring Harbour and A Good School. There is also an excellent bio of Yates by Blake Bailey that kept me enthralled for days. If you want Yates in short doses, his ..."

I LOVED his stories Teresa. Dark but lovely.


Teresa Cynthia wrote: "I LOVED his stories Teresa. Dark but lovely."

Good to know, Cynthia. Thanks!


message 7: by Tajma (new) - added it

Tajma Sue wrote: "Tajma I was wondering about Yates too. Thanks for the ideas. The Collected Stories sounds good. Of the novels, which would you suggest?

Mikki, maybe a buddy read of Maxwell next year. My God...I h..."


Sue, Revolutionary Road is a must read.


message 6: by Sue (new) - added it

Sue Thanks Tajma, I'll add it too!


Jenny (Reading Envy) I've never heard of this author but I always believe what you say! Adding it to my to-read list....


Teresa Mikki, when you and Anne read this, did y'all discuss "The Palace at 4 a.m." that's described early in the book? I looked it up to see what it looked like and found this comment from someone:
'After reading "So Long, See You Tomorrow" by JD at 2005-08-01

It seems to me that many of the figurines, along with the framework, are meant to present the innumberable oncoming possibilities of the embryotic stage. Initially, my mind wants to create walls that would insolate what I can see now, and yet I feel as though that would only take away from what I see, and what can still happen.'

http://www.surrealists.co.uk/viewRevi...


Anne I like that comment very much. Thank you, Teresa.


Mikki Teresa, thank you for the link. What's funny is that I, too, came across that same article when first reading the book and wanting to know more about the sculpture! I like his thoughts, especially about seeing "what can still happen." I also applied this to the past.

Looking forward to discussing when you're finished.


message 1: by Teresa (last edited May 20, 2012 09:22AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Teresa You're welcome, Anne and Mikki. Whenever I read about art, if a photo's not included, I am compelled to look it up to see it for myself. The internet makes that so easy to do!

Just knowing that it is by one of the Surrealists added a different level to my thoughts after reading about the sculpture in the novel.

I read quite a bit of it last night. If I had been able to start earlier, I might have finished it.


back to top