Monday, March 02, 2009

William Maxwell and Jesse Kellerman

I'd been meaning to write for some time about So Long, See You Tomorrow, an off beat novel centered around a small-town murder by William Maxwell (onetime fiction editor for the New Yorker).

Some lovely, sparse language and wonderful touches - "...I understood not only how generous they were, but that generosity might be the greatest pleasure there is."

"He died in agony, of a gall-bladder attack, when he was in his early fifties, and the oval photograph, adapting itself to circumstances, is now clearly the photograph of a dead man."

"New York City is a place where one can weep on the sidewalk in perfect privacy."

And so on. Great, pithy, insightful language, and some lovely characterization.

Then I read Jesse Kellerman's latest - The Genius (or, in the UK, The Brutal Art). Many of you know that I love JK's writing. His last, Trouble, was one of my favorite books of 2007. Well this is an even more compelling read - at times staggering. His characterization and facility with language is pretty goddamned remarkable. It occurs to me that were I to excerpt my favorite touches and lines, my blog post would go on indefinitely. So just go buy it already.


Sean Black said...

Haven't read William Maxwell (yet!) but JK has blown me away. I thought Trouble was one of the best thrillers I read last year. The command of language was frickin' awesome.

Aquaryan said...

I picked up Jesse Kellerman's novel TROUBLE because you posted a recommendation for his book. It was a great read. Now, I will check out the other book... I do not think I have heard of William Maxwell, either.

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