American Boy

American Boy Cover

American Boy

By Larry Watson

Milkweed Editions, Hardcover, 9781571310781, 251pp.

Publication Date: September 13, 2011

Description

Esquire Top 9 Books of the Year
Midwest Booksellers Choice Award Finalist
Booklist Editor's Choice 2011 Best Book
Publishers Weekly 20 Top Indie Sleeper Hits
WBEZ Chicago Top 10 Books of 2011

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 Garth’s 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. Dunbar’s 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.



About the Author
Larry Watson grew up in Bismarck, North Dakota, and received his BA and MA from the University of North Dakota and his PhD in creative writing at the University of Utah. He has received grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Wisconsin Arts Board. He is the author of the novels "Let Him Go, Montana 1948, American Boy, In a Dark Time, White Crosses, Laura, Orchard, " and "Sundown, Yellow Moon; "the fiction collection "Justice;" and the chapbook of poetry "Leaving Dakota. "Watson s fiction has been published in many foreign editions, and has received multiple prizes and awards from, among others, the Mountain and Plains Booksellers Association, the Mountain and Plains Library Association, the New York Public Library, and the Wisconsin Library Association, and he has been awarded the Critics Choice Award and the High Plains Book Award. He has published short stories and poems in a range of journals. His essays and book reviews have appeared in the "Los Angeles Times, " the "Washington Post, " the "Chicago Sun-Times, "and the "Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel." Watson taught at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point for twenty-five years before joining the faculty at Marquette University in 2003 as a visiting professor. He and his wife Susan live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


Praise For American Boy

[Watson will] harvest a bumper crop of readers this autumn.”Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

[Watson] spins charm and melancholy around the same fingers, the result a soft but urgent rendering of a young man coming of age in rural America that is recognizable to even those of us who were never there.”Denver Post

Watson has penned some of the best contemporary fiction about small-town America, and his new novel does not disappoint. . . . With his graceful writing style, well-drawn characters, and subtly moving plot, Watson masterfully portrays the dark side of small-town America. Highly readable and enthusiastically recommended.”Library Journal (starred review)

Eighteen years ago, Milkweed published Watson’s breakthrough novel, Montana 1948; now the author returns to Milkweed with another powerful coming-of-age story about a teenage boy [Matthew Garth] being shocked into maturity by a moment of sudden and unexpected violence. . . . Like Holden Caulfield trying to catch innocent children before they fall off the cliff adjoining that field of rye, Matthew struggles to save the Dunbars and, in so doing, save himself. He fails, of course, but that’s the point of much of Watson’s always melancholic, always morally ambiguous fiction: coming-of-age is about failure as much as it is about growth.”Booklist (starred review)

Watson’s new novel about a young man’s coming-of-age in rural Minnesota during the early ’60s never veers off course.”Publishers Weekly

There are a handful of writers I push on everyone I meet, and Larry Watson is one of them. For the past twenty years has quietly penned some of the wisest, most powerful novels in my library, and I am thrilled to make room on the shelf for his latest, a gripping, poignant coming-of-age story that opens with a gunshot that will ultimately bury its bullet in your heart. American Boy is an American classic.”Benjamin Percy, author of The Wilding and Refresh, Refresh

Larry Watson’s latest book, American Boy, may be his best yet. With the patient skill of a seasoned writer, Watson tells an engaging coming-of-age story of a young man in Willow Falls, Minnesota during the 1960s. Youthful passions, heartbreaks, loyalties and moral uncertainties are all rendered in vivid color.”David Rhodes, author of Driftless