Synopses & Reviews
"Watson's new novel about a young man's coming-of-age in rural Minnesota during the early '60s never veers off course. Working-class narrator Matthew Garth has always been treated well by best friend Johnny Dunbar's well-to-do family, particularly by Johnny's father, Dr. Dunbar. In the town of Willow Falls, the doctor's wealth and commanding presence position him as a leader to some, but to others including Matt's mother he remains an ostentatious outsider. He treats Louisa Lindahl, a young woman shot by her boyfriend (who later strangles himself while in custody); having 'no resources and no place to go,' Louisa recuperates with the Dunbars and stays on to live and work with the family. Matt develops an infatuation for Louisa, but her own plans, about which the reader is never unaware, lead to explosive changes in Matt's standing with the Dunbar family. Though the novel's dÃ©nouement packs a punch, much about Matt, from episodes relating to women to his trajectory with the Dunbars, is foreshadowed to the point of draining the story of drama. Though Watson's (Montana 1948) laconic prose fits the setting, his decision to telegraph every narrative turn is disappointing." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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We were exposed to these phenomena in order that we might learn something, but of course the lessons we learn are not always those we are taught . . .
So begins Matthew Garths story of the fall of 1962, when the shooting of a young woman on Thanksgiving Day sets off a chain of unsettling events in Willow Falls, Minnesota. Matthew first sees Louisa Lindahl in Dr. Dunbars home office, and at the time her bullet wound makes nearly as strong an impression as her unclothed body. Fueled over the following weeks by his feverish longing for this mysterious womanas well as by a deep desire for the comfort and affluence that appears to surround the DunbarsMatthew finds himself drawn into a series of confrontations he never expected, the results of which will change his life irrevocably and give lie to his version of the American dream.
Immersive, heartbreaking, and richly evocative of time and place, this long-awaited new novel marks the return of a great American storyteller.