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Let Him Goby Larry Watson
What would you give up for someone you love? For George and Margaret Blackledge, the answer is: everything.
Set in North Dakota in 1951, Let Him Go begins with the Blackledges leaving their home, security, and safety behind in order to retrieve their grandson from a situation which Margaret deems untenable. George and Margaret's son, James, has died in an accident, leaving his widow to find another husband and then move away with her small son. Margaret has meticulously planned this trip, and George can either stay or go, but Margaret intends to bring her grandson home. Unfortunately, she hasn't counted on the family of her daughter-in-law's new husband, the Weboys.
The Blackledges are first faced with rudeness and resistance from the Weboy clan, which shortly devolves into threats, hostility, and violence. It isn't too long before the situation explodes, and George and Margaret realize they are no match for the Weboys, and they are in way, way too deep. After retreating to lick their wounds, George and Margaret concede their defeat and prepare to return home.
Watson writes a masterful tale so heartbreaking and so sorrowful, it hurts to read it. Yet, at the same time, it is a gorgeous story about family, unconditional love, and sacrifice. My favorite book so far this year, Let Him Go is absolutely perfect.
Synopses & Reviews
The celebrated author of Montana 1948 returns to the American West in this riveting tale of familial love and its unexpected consequences.
Dalton, North Dakota. It's September 1951: years since George and Margaret Blackledge lost their son James when he was thrown from a horse; months since his widow Lorna took off with their only grandson and married Donnie Weboy. Margaret is steadfast, resolved to find and retrieve her grandson Jimmy — the one person in this world keeping James's memory alive — while George, a retired sheriff, is none too eager to stir up trouble. Unable to sway his wife from her mission, George takes to the road with Margaret by his side, traveling through the Dakota badlands to Gladstone, Montana. When Margaret tries to convince Lorna to return home to North Dakota and bring little Jimmy with her, the Blackledge's find themselves entangled with the entire Weboy clan, who are determined not to give up the boy without a fight. From the author who brought us Montana 1948, Let Him Go is pitch-perfect, gutsy, and unwavering. Larry Watson is at his storytelling finest in this unforgettable return to the American West.
"In Let Him Go, Larry Watson evokes the deepest kind of suspense: that based upon the fact that humans are unpredictable and perhaps ultimately unknowable — even to their most intimate associates. This fierce, tense book is beautifully written, with spare and economical prose out of which blooms a vivid and uncompromising portrait of the modern West. A brilliant achievement." Alice LaPlante, bestselling author of Turn of Mind
"Let Him Go is as commanding as its title: you will be immediately gripped by the narrow-eyed, big-hearted pursuit of a child in danger. This is a literary thriller of the highest order — on par with Daniel Woodrell's Winter's Bone — an unrelenting quest through an unforgiving landscape and deadly family web." Benjamin Percy, author of Red Moon and The Wilding
Slyly suspenseful, highly engaging.... Known for crisp images, resonant backdrops, and sharp characterizations drawn without flashy over-accessorizing, Watson's latest traces the desperate lengths families will go to in order to protect their own.” Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"The sort of book that puts the shine back on genre as an adjective to describe fiction." Kirkus
About the Author
Larry Watson is the author of Montana 1948, American Boy, Justice, White Crosses, and several other novels. He is the recipient of the Milkweed National Fiction Prize, the Friends of American Writers award, two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and many other prizes and awards. He teaches writing and literature at Marquette University in Milwaukee, where he lives with this wife, Susan.
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