Monday, July 04, 2016

What is Larry Watson reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Larry Watson, author of As Good as Gone: A Novel.

His entry begins:
I teach as well as write, and over the summer, I’ll be reading and rereading books by and about Ernest Hemingway. Among the works about Hemingway will be Michael Reynolds’ five volume biography. It’s a readable, fascinating look at the life and the fiction, and the ways they converge and differ. Hemingway could be a jerk as well as a genius, and while I know full well that those qualities are not incompatible, that good character is not a requirement to creating great art—or playing great baseball or making great music—I still wish that the people whose work I admire could themselves be admirable. In that regard, I’m still like the hero-worshipping kid I once was. Fortunately, Hemingway was...[read on]
About As Good as Gone, from the publisher:
Calvin Sidey is always ready to run, and it doesn’t take much to set him in motion. As a young man, he ran from this block, from Gladstone, from Montana, from this country. From his family and the family business. He ran from sadness, and he ran from responsibility. If the gossip was true, he ran from the law.

It’s 1963, and Calvin Sidey, one of the last of the old cowboys, has long ago left his family to live a life of self-reliance out on the prairie. He’s been a mostly absentee father and grandfather until his estranged son asks him to stay with his grandchildren, Ann and Will, for a week while he and his wife are away. So Calvin agrees to return to the small town where he once was a mythic figure, to the very home he once abandoned.

But trouble soon comes to the door when a boy’s attentions to seventeen-year-old Ann become increasingly aggressive and a group of reckless kids portend danger for eleven-year-old Will. Calvin knows only one way to solve problems: the Old West way, in which scores are settled and ultimatums are issued and your gun is always loaded. And though he has a powerful effect on those around him--from the widowed neighbor who has fallen under his spell to Ann and Will, who see him as the man who brings a sudden and violent order to their lives--in the changing culture of the 1960s, Calvin isn’t just a relic; he’s a wild card, a danger to himself and those who love him.

In As Good as Gone, Larry Watson captures our longing for the Old West and its heroes, and he challenges our understanding of loyalty and justice. Both tough and tender, it is a stunning achievement.
Visit Larry Watson's website.

The Page 69 Test: As Good as Gone.

My Book, The Movie: As Good as Gone.

Writers Read: Larry Watson.

--Marshal Zeringue