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So Long, See You Tomorrow
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December Book Club Pick h/t Rob Long

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Kelly-Louise | 8 comments On the latest Ricochet podcast, James Lileks asked the question (paraphrased) "what piece of popular culture from the 20th century, if people understood it, they would understand you?"

Rob Long answered with William Maxwell's short (135 pages long) novel, So Long, See You Tomorrow. He added, "it's absolutely beautiful."

Who's up for making this the Ricochet Book Club selection for December?
So Long, See You Tomorrow


message 2: by Beth (new)

Beth | 7 comments Sounds good to me. I say that even after not getting to the last two books in time to contribute! But this one's short, so I have hope!


Peter (peterc99) | 32 comments Any of you who are Library of America members, it's in the Maxwell collection "Later Novels and Stories".

I will put it on my list for this month!


Casey (tomcasey) | 31 comments Mod
Good idea. I'm in.


Casey (tomcasey) | 31 comments Mod
Remind me... What did Rob say about this book?


Kelly-Louise | 8 comments At about 59:45 in the podcast, James asks the question, then talks about the different Star Trek series.

Then, at about 63:30 Rob interrupts him, James poses the question to him again, and at 64:00, Rob gives his answer. He doesn't really say much, just that it is his choice, and that it's beautiful.


Casey (tomcasey) | 31 comments Mod
Rob interrupts. .. that sounds familiar


Peter (peterc99) | 32 comments Well, Rob is right about this one. I would be fascinated to learn from him why this story in particular speaks to him so deeply. In any case, it is beautiful, and often so heartbreaking as to be almost tough to read. Worth every minute I spent. Thank you, Kelly-Louise, for the recommendation.


Kelly-Louise | 8 comments Yes, Peter, I just finished it too and am mulling over what to say in a review. Wow. It's compact, it's expertly crafted, it's heartbreaking, it's compassionate. It's compassionate not only because of how he treats each of the characters, including the murderer, but also because of the overarching theme of how the author is haunted for the rest of his life by how he didn't reach out to Cletus in that high school corridor. He feels it so deeply that he wants to go back, find out all he can, and then tell what it all may have been like from Cletus' perspective.

Wasn't this book somewhat autobiographical? If so, you hope with all your heart that "Cletus" (we know that's not his real name) stumbled upon this book and recognized it as the heartfelt apology that it was.

I can't help but wonder how had I never heard of this book before. I'm so glad I tuned in to the podcast to hear Rob bring it up.

There are a lot of other angles from which we can discuss this one. What did everyone else think? When you've finished, please check in and let us know!


Peter (peterc99) | 32 comments
"He said silently (but nevertheless wanting to be heard) Clarence, you ought not to trust me… half expecting Clarence to answer Why not? If Clarence had, then he would have said Because all my life I've been a stranger to myself."

That one got me.


message 11: by Beth (new)

Beth | 7 comments I thought that Maxwell did a terrific job of intertwining so many life lessons that we usually only learn in retrospect, as he (or the narrator)did. I enjoyed his writing style very much and would like to read more of his work.


message 12: by Stephen (last edited Dec 27, 2013 05:52AM) (new) - added it

Stephen Gilman | 18 comments "what piece of popular culture from the 20th century, if people understood it, they would understand you?"

For me, it would be:

1) The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, which greatly shaped my conception of human nature,

2) The Death of Common Sense by Philip K. Howard, which greatly shaped my antipathy towards bureaucracy and technocracy, and

3) Boom, Bust and Echo by David Foot, and Freakonomics by Steven Levitt, which greatly shaped my conception of how immutable natural demographic forces and economic truths shape nearly every aspect of human society.


Casey (tomcasey) | 31 comments Mod
Can't believe I had never hard of this book before. Rich. So much so that I'm not sure where to begin. Good choice.


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