Another Look Book Club:
Parents' Weekend Edition -

Friday, 3:004:00 p.m.

So Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell

Moderated by Tobias Wolff, Stanford Professor of English

Join us for the Parents' Weekend Edition of the Another Look Book Club for a discussion of William Maxwell's So Long, See You Tomorrow with Stanford Professor of English Tobias Wolff. 

So Long, See You Tomorrow was originally published in two parts in The New Yorker in 1979. The book, set in rural Illinois, describes the effects of a murder on the friendship of two boys – one of whom, in old age, narrates the story. Professor Wolff calls it "a beautifully written, complex, haunting story of a boy's attempt to find warmth and companionship following the death of his mother in the Spanish Influenza epidemic – which killed more people than the Great War it so quickly followed." It's "a cry from the heart that, once heard, cannot be forgotten."

"Another Look" is a seasonal book club that draws together writers and scholars from Stanford's English department with leading figures from the Bay Area and beyond.  English faculty members choose books that really matter to them, and that they feel have not earned the readership they deserve. The Parents’ Weekend community is invited to participate in the discussions especially designed for the weekend.

An Introduction by Tobias Wolff:
So Long, See You Tomorrow is a remarkable novel. It was recognized as such at the time of its publication. It attracted critical acclaim after it was published in 1980, winning the National Book Award and the Howells Medal for American Fiction. Almost all the writers I know keep a special place in their hearts for this book – can even quote from it – but, for reasons inexplicable to me, it has largely gone unrecognized by the general reader and even by the academy.

One of my hopes for this communal reading experience is to inspire a fresh encounter with literary works of the highest quality that have somehow passed to the margins of our cultural memory. This happened to The Great Gatsby, let us remember, and even to Moby Dick, until someone took the trouble to restore them to our attention. We are taking that trouble, hence the name of the series – “Another Look.”

For more on William Maxwell:

  1. Charlie Rose interviews Maxwell in 1995
  2. My Favorite Poem – Maxwell discusses A.E. Housman’s translation of Horace’s ode, “Diffugere Nives”
  3. Terry Gross’ 1995 NPR interview with William Maxwell
  4. “The Wisest, Kindest Voice: A Celebration of the Work and Life of William Maxwell,” 2008 National Book Foundation video with Christopher Carduff, Benjamin Cheever, Edward Hirsch, Daniel Menaker and Stewart O’Nan
  5. “Nearing 90,” reflections from William Maxwell in 1997 New York Times Magazine article
  6. “Welty v. Maxwell on autobiography in fiction” – on Maud Newton’s blog
  7. Library of America Honors Overshadowed Writer – 2008 article on NPR, including transcript of Maxwell’s “All Things Considered” interview with Jacki Lyden