Claudia Putnam's Reviews > Let Him Go

Let Him Go by Larry Watson
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really liked it
bookshelves: literary-fiction

I've been thinking a lot about dialogue recently, and this is a good book to study for the way dialogue is handled. No quotes, which in this case would be a distraction, because sometimes the characters talk in would "sound" stilted in paragraphs, but this way it's just embedded in the story. And these are two people with a long history of listening to one another--one of whom doesn't speak all that much usually, but they are on a roadtrip and engaged in communicating--so the reader is drawn into this deep act of listening as well. Because of the way Watson delineates his characters, it's not hard to figure out who is speaking (it might be harder if there were more characters in this story).

I knew this would be a tragedy, but I imagined much worse, so the ending felt almost happy despite its darkness.

I suppose comparisons between Watson and Haruf are inevitable. Both write quiet, careful novels about people living in small, plains towns. Haruf usually looks at the relationship between people and community, whereas in the Watson books, at least in those I've read, there is a closer connection with individuals (not a huge difference in terms of how the novels feel). Anyway, if you like Haruf you are bound to like Watson. I also admired the other two novels of his that I read: Montana, 1948 and White Crosses.

Only beef was with the ebook formatting. Margins were pre-set and I couldn't adjust them. I have a standard-sized Kobo, but this shrank the screen to more of a phone size. I like the words to go all the way to the edges of the screen. Also there were some strange breaks, such as M

argaret. It just seems to me that if Word can adjust despite changes in font sizes and line spacing and the rest, this ebook software ought to be further along by now.

Highly recommended.

Some samples:

I'd follow you anywhere. If you don't know that, Margaret Mann, then what the hell do you know? [And she responds:] Did it ever occur to you that maybe I'd like you beside me instead of behind me?

This is prairie, rolling gentle country where black seams of trees and brush stitch one grassy hill to another.

Does being sheriff give a man that distant, careworn look, or will people in this part of the world elect only a man who has it?

...he looks back over his shoulder, the anxious glance of a man forever checking the night sky for any sign of daylight's approach.

They fall into the companionable silence of the long-married, content to wait for something new to enter their lives and the conversation to continue. announcer tells them they're listening to the Northern Plains Gospel Hour. But before so much as a line of song is out--_I'm just a poor_--george reaches over and snaps off the radio.
Goodness, says Margaret.
I try to stay out of their churches, George says. They can keep their goddamn music out of my car.

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Reading Progress

July 23, 2014 – Started Reading
July 23, 2014 – Shelved
July 25, 2014 – Shelved as: literary-fiction
July 25, 2014 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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message 1: by Travelin (new) - added it

Travelin I've only read one Haruf, but he and this author seem to use the plainspoken style to literally say something, as opposed to someone such as Cormac McCarthy.

Claudia Putnam I like McCarthy too, though, for different reasons.

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