Ally Armistead's Reviews > So Long, See You Tomorrow

So Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell
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's review
Jul 30, 2010

liked it
Read from July 30 to August 01, 2010

Three out of five stars for this reader, though I felt as
though I should have loved the book more than I did. I can appreciate the novel's intention, which was an exploration of an old man's greatest loss and grief--that of his mother when... he was a boy--which is irrationally and empathically projected into the family tragedies of another boy, Cletus Smith, whose father murders the lover of his cheating wife. The old man imagines the pain of this situation--of its pain and difficultly on poor Cletus and even Cletus' ever-loyal and abandoned dog--though his empathy, though genuine, is truly more about his own loss and attempt to understand his own grief. Part of my issue is that the novel did not tie these strands together efficiently for me. Part of this has to do with the unfocused language, swapping between POVs a bit too harshly, and an awkward pacing. All of these factors do no sit comfortably with me, such that I experienced an odd sensation of lull and boredom and then a bite of something thrilling, and then an odd disorientation about who was speaking and why. Overall, the book has a beautifully painful nostalgia and grief about it that I appreciate. I just wish the narrative elements had been more carefully considered to render its effect more startling.
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Roxanne S Ally, I just finished this book and find your review really encapsulates my problems with the writing. I'm glad I stuck with it because in telling the story of Cletus, the book is quite beautiful. But the first part - the autobiographical portion - I found to be almost clunky.
Anyway, I found your summation to be spot on. thanks for sharing.

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