What would you give up for someone you love? For George and Margaret Blackledge, that answer is: everything. Set in North Dakota in 1951, the Blackledges leave home, security, and safety behind in order to retrieve their grandson from a situation they deem untenable. Unfortunately, George and Margaret are up against overwhelming forces, and they begin to realize that they are in way, way too deep. 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. Let Him Go is absolutely perfect. Recommended By Dianah H., Powells.com
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.
A consummate chronicler of the American West Watson (American Boy) sets his slyly suspenseful highly engaging new novel in the early 1950s in rural Dalton N.Dak. where George Blackledge a retired sheriff returns home to find his wife Margaret packing to leave—with or without him. She's embarking on an honorable valiant journey to reclaim her young grandson Jimmy from Lorna the widow of her tragically deceased son and Lorna's sketchy new husband Donnie Weboy. Margaret who witnessed but didn't immediately act on the couple's cruelty toward Jimmy is sure that he deserves better than Donnie and Lorna. George joins his determined wife for the long road trip across the Dakota Badlands into Montana where they become embroiled in the violence of the Weboy clan beginning with tense negotiations with Donnie's foul mouthed father who compares Margaret's "pretty bird" appearance to the "hard bark" of George's. Margaret wants desperately for Lorna to return with them to Dalton with Jimmy in tow but the ever intimidating Weboys and their nasty extended family network have other plans for everyone involved and put up a bloody fight—until George turns the tables in the nail biting denouement. 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. Agent: PJ Mark Janklow amp; Nesbit. (Sept.) " Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
"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.