03 September 2013

Review: Let Him Go by Larry Watson

Let Him Go by Larry WatsonLarry Watson has a way of stripping a story to its essence without sacrificing either beauty or emotion. His latest novel, Let Him Go, is a story of families, of mothers and sons, and of the unpredictability of human behavior,

In the bleak fall of 1951, Margaret Blackledge, still grieving over the death of her grown son, James, is almost done in when her daughter-in-law marries a man of questionable reputation and leaves town, taking her young boy with her. Margaret cannot bear the loss of her last living link with James and sets off across North Dakota, accompanied by her husband, to bring their grandson home.

In his signature spare style, Watson tells us of the confrontation between two families, as worn and battered as their native northern Plains, who are pushed to the limits in their unwavering need to hold on their own. Watson's unerring observations and well-tuned pacing are brilliantly showcased in this stunning and shocking story of what we can and cannot live with.

On the northern Plains:

The sun has dropped low enough to bring up the colors in the prairie grasses, the shades of lavender and gold that can't be seen at any other moment of the day and that incline most travelers through this landscape to silence. Gospel hour indeed. (p. 30, uncorrected proof)
On the boy:
A four-year-old has so little past, and he remembers almost none of it, neither the father he once had nor the house where he once lived. But he can feel absences--and feel them as sensation, like a texture that was once at his fingers every day but now is gone and no matter how he gropes or reaches his hand he cannot touch what's no longer there. (p. 115, uncorrected proof)
Let Him Go was my pick for the September "Bloggers Recommend" newsletter, is an Indie Next pick, and has earned many starred reviews. It will likely be my top read of 2013.

Milkweed Editions, 2013
ISBN-13: 9781571311023
Source: Review (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy).


Mystica 9/3/13, 6:51 AM  

Thank you for an update on a book which was new to me.

bermudaonion 9/3/13, 7:58 AM  

I actually enjoy "spare" writing and think this book sounds terrific. I bet it's heart wrenching too.

Daryl 9/3/13, 8:03 AM  

sounds quite good ... thanks as always

Unknown 9/3/13, 8:52 AM  

I noticed Let Him Go as your BR pick, and had not heard of it before. Thank you for bringing it to my attention, it looks fantastic!

JoAnn 9/4/13, 3:20 PM  

Sounds wonderful. I loved Montana 1948!

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) 9/4/13, 5:05 PM  

I didn't realize that I had read a book by Larry Watson before. I don't think I loved Montana 1948, but you certainly make a good case for this one.

The Solitary Cook 9/5/13, 10:57 PM  

This one is new to me, as well. No place is spare like North Dakota is spare. I look forward to a very good read. Thank you.

thecuecard 9/8/13, 9:47 PM  

Wow your top read of 2013 -- that's saying something! I will check it out thanks!

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