"So Long, See You Tomorrow" by William Maxwell
William Maxwell's "So Long, See You Tomorrow" (July 22, 2011)
The two lonely boys forged their bond in play, not words. The narrator recalls: "When the look of the sky informed us that it was getting along toward suppertime, we climbed down and said, 'So long' and 'See you tomorrow' and went our separate ways in the dusk."
Born in Lincoln, Ill., in 1908, Maxwell was for 40 years the fiction editor of The New Yorker, where he worked with authors including John Updike, Vladimir Nabokov, Eudora Welty and Isaac Bashevis Singer. He also made time to write his own novels, stories, children's books and a memoir. "So Long, See You Tomorrow" won an American Book Award, and one of his last books, "All the Days and Nights: The Collected Stories," won the Tribune's Heartland Prize in 1995.
There's a "Winesburg, Ohio" (by Sherwood Anderson) feel to this novel, which is free of nostalgia and sentimentality. Maxwell was so wise, and so psychologically acute that he understood that conflicting emotional interests require storytellers to arrange things to conform in the end. "In any case," the narrator in "So Long, See You Tomorrow" reflects, "in talking about the past we lie with every breath we draw."
"So Long, See You Tomorrow"
By William Maxwell
Vintage, 135 pages (paperback), $13