287. Let Him Go by Larry Watson.

Let Him Go by Larry Watson.

Rating: (5/5)

(Kindle) - (US) - (Canada) - (UK)

Sep 3, 2013, Milkweed Editions, 269 pgs

Age: 18+

"Dalton, North Dakota. September, 1951. It has been years since George and Margaret Blackledge lost their son James when he was thrown from a horse, and months since his widow left with their only grandson and married another man. Margaret is resolved to find and retrieve her beloved grandson Jimmy—the last of the family line, and a living embodiment of her son’s memory—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 Badlands to Gladstone, Montana. But when Margaret tries to bring little Jimmy home to North Dakota, the Blackledges find themselves entangled with the Weboy clan, who are determined not to give up the boy without a fight."

Received a review copy from the publisher.

Exquisite literary country noir piece centering on poor families, clans and kin, what extent they will go to to keep kin with kin and the hierarchy such families have in place.  This is a devastating story and while short, a slow read, a piece that deserves to be lingered over rather than devoured.  This is not a happy story and if that is what you like to read it won't be for you.  Gritty, bleak and oppressing even, at times, this is the kind of story that makes me think and appreciate the good in life.  The Blackridges have suffered tragedy in their life but they are a family based on love, and love for each other drives them.  On the other hand, the Weboys are a clan based on fear and control, though family always sticks up for family, no.matter.what.  As the two families face off over the fate of a grandchild, the suspense slowly rises.  One knows something is going to happen at some point but when it does it is a surprise and exactly what happens is a shock.  The climax hit me hard!  The ending is bittersweet but redeeming and left me satisfied.  For reader's of tragedies or country noir set in the American West.


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