maxwell’s so long, see you tomorrow

I’ve written about the achingly beautiful book by William Maxwell before but tonight my students will be concluding their Lit 111 experience with this book–the last lecture anyway. This will be our final discussion before they head off to complete their term papers and prepare for their presentations. I hope I can convey to them what a crafted and original book Maxwell wrote. And lately I’ve been revisiting Maxwell’s short stories as well as his novels and more and more I admire how keen the voice and dialogue predicate midwest life. I’ve only been in the midwest for a short time but I sense that even though New York City and Chicago played a major role in his work and development as a writer, the small town midwest was still his home.

I most admire the slow movement from first person to omniscient narration–so subtle and flowing you almost miss it. Last night I found myself choking up over the character of Trixie, Cletus’ dog in the novel and her means of perception late in the book. I also admire the metaphor of the house as memory and his allusion/reference to Giacometti’s palace at 4am. I think of this as I question a relative about the past or I imagine I’m re constructing my own character’s memories and lives. Hope to have more blog posts on this writer and this book soon.

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john paul jaramillo

John Paul Jaramillo’s debut story collection The House of Order was named a 2013 Int’l Latino Book Award Finalist, and his most recent work Little Mocos is now available from Twelve Winters Press. In 2013 Latino Boom: An Anthology of U.S. Latino Literature listed Jaramillo as one of its Top 10 New Latino Authors to Watch and Read. He is currently a professor of composition and literature at Lincoln Land College-Springfield, Illinois.

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