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About Larry Watson
Larry Watson is the author of the novels IN A DARK TIME; MONTANA 1948; WHITE CROSSES; LAURA; ORCHARD; SUNDOWN, YELLOW MOON; AMERICAN BOY; LET HIM GO; AS GOOD AS GONE; the fiction collection JUSTICE; the chapbook of poetry LEAVING DAKOTA; and the poetry collection, LATE ASSIGNMENTS. Watson's fiction has been published in ten foreign editions, and has received prizes and awards from Milkweed Press, Friends of American Writers, Mountain and Plains Booksellers Association, New York Public Library, Wisconsin Library Association, Critics' Choice, and The High Plains Book Award. MONTANA 1948 was nominated for the first IMPAC Dublin international literary prize. The movie rights to MONTANA 1948 and JUSTICE have been sold to Echo Lake Productions and WHITE CROSSES and ORCHARD have been optioned for film. The 2020 movie version of his book LET HIM GO stars Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Lesley Manville, Jeffrey Donovan, and Boo Boo Stewart.
He has published short stories and poems in Gettysburg Review, New England Review, North American Review, Mississippi Review, and other journals and quarterlies. His essays and book reviews have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, and other periodicals. His work has also been anthologized in Essays for Contemporary Culture, Imagining Home, Off the Beaten Path, Baseball and the Game of Life, The Most Wonderful Books, These United States, Writing America, West of 98, Tales of Two Americas, and Milwaukee Noir.
Watson taught writing and literature at the University of Wisconsin/Stevens Point for 25 years before joining the faculty at Marquette University in 2003 as a Visiting Professor. He retired from Marquette in 2017. He has also taught and participated in writers conferences in Colorado, Montana, Arizona, New Mexico, North Dakota, Texas, Vermont, Wisconsin, St. Malo and Caen, France.
Larry's latest novel, THE LIVES OF EDIE PRITCHARD, was published by Algonquin Books in 2020 . He and Susan live in Kenosha, Wisconsin. They have two daughters, Elly and Amy, and two grandchildren, Theodore and Abigail.
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In the summer of 1948, twelve-year-old David Hayden witnessed and experienced a series of cataclysmic events that would forever change the way he saw his family. The Haydens had been pillars of their small Montana town: David’s father was the town sheriff; his uncle Frank was a war hero and respected doctor. But the family’s solid foundation was suddenly shattered by a bombshell revelation.
The Hayden’s Sioux housekeeper, Marie Little Soldier, tells them that Frank has been sexually assaulting his female Indian patients for years—and that she herself was his latest victim. As the tragic fallout unravels around David, he learns that truth is not what one believes it to be, that power is abused, and that sometimes one has to choose between loyalty and justice.
Winner of the Milkweed National Fiction Prize
A Most Anticipated Book of the Summer: The Millions * Library Journal * Parade
"Characters so real they could walk off the page, virtuoso writing and up-all-night drama."— People
From acclaimed novelist Larry Watson, a multigenerational story of the West told through the history of one woman trying to navigate life on her own terms.
Edie—smart, self‑assured, beautiful—always worked hard. She worked as a teller at a bank, she worked to save her first marriage, and later, she worked to raise her daughter even as her second marriage came apart. Really, Edie just wanted a good life, but everywhere she turned, her looks defined her. Two brothers fought over her. Her second husband became unreasonably possessive and jealous. Her daughter resented her. And now, as a grandmother, Edie finds herself harassed by a younger man. It’s been a lifetime of proving that she is allowed to exist in her own sphere. The Lives of Edie Pritchard tells the story of one woman just trying to be herself, even as multiple men attempt to categorize and own her.
Triumphant, engaging, and perceptive, Watson’s novel examines a woman both aware of her physical power and constrained by it, and how perceptions of someone in a small town can shape her life through the decades.
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.
Willow Falls, Minnesota, 1962. The shooting of a young woman on Thanksgiving Day sets off a chain of unsettling events in the life of seventeen-year-old Matthew Garth. A close friend of the prosperous Dunbar family, Matthew is present in Dr. Dunbar’s home office when the victim is brought in. The sight of Louisa Lindahl—beautiful and mortally wounded—makes an indelible impression on the young man.
Fueled by his feverish desire for this mysterious woman and a deep longing for the comfort and affluence that appears to surround the Dunbars, Matthew finds himself drawn into a vortex of greed, manipulation, and ultimately betrayal. Larry Watson’s tale heart-breaking tale “resonates with language as clear and images as crisp as the spare, flat prairie of its Minnesota setting” (Kirkus Reviews).
An Esquire Best Book of 2011
The horrific murder and suicide leave the community reeling. Speculation about Raymond’s motives run rampant. Political scandal, workplace corruption, financial ruin, adultery, and jealousy are all cited as possible catalysts. But in the end, the truth behind the day’s events died with those two men. And for Gene and his friend, the tragedy is a turning point, both in their lives and in their friendship.
Nearly forty years later, Gene’s friend, a writer, revisits the tragedy and tries to unravel the mystery behind one man’s inexplicable actions. Through his own recollections and his fiction–sometimes impossible to separate–he attempts to make sense of a senseless act and, in the process, to examine his youth, his friendship with Gene, and the love they both had for a beautiful girl named Marie.
Spare, haunting, lyrical, Sundown, Yellow Moon is a piercing study of love and betrayal, grief and desire, youth and remembrance. Using a brilliant, evocative fiction-within-fiction structure, Larry Watson not only brings to life a distinct period in history but, most affectingly, reveals the interplay of memory, secrets, and the passage of time.
Sonja Skordahl, a Norwegian immigrant, came to America looking for a new life. Instead, she settled in Door County, Wisconsin, and married Henry House—only to find herself defined by her roles as wife and mother. Destiny lands Sonja in the studio of Ned Weaver, an internationally acclaimed painter. There she becomes more than his model and more than a mere object of desire; she becomes the most inspiring muse Ned has ever known, much to the chagrin of the artist’s wife. When both Ned and Henry insist on possessing Sonja, their jealousies threaten to erupt into violence—as she struggles to appease both men without sacrificing her hard-won sense of self.
Derrick Harriell has received the Robert L. Fish Memorial Award for his story, "There's a Riot Goin' On," presented by the Mystery Writers of America!
Jennifer Morales's story "Cousins" has been named an Honorable Mention for the Zona Gale Short Fiction Award, presented by the Council for Wisconsin Writers.
Milwaukee Noir is a Boswell Book Company best seller: #1 Paperback Fiction Bestseller for the week ending May 25, 2019, and a #2 Paperback Fiction Bestseller for the week ending May 4, 2019!
"Luxuriate in the seedy, wallow in the angry and shiver at the horrors that surely await you around the corner...The sheer localness of Milwaukee Noir is superb, and the seediness of many characters here would qualify them for membership in a Tom Waits song."
--Milwuakee Journal Sentinel
"Fourteen fictional tales of people behaving badly in the city and the 'burbs, including top-shelf writers Valerie Laken, Jane Hamilton, Larry Watson and Nick Petrie."
--Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, included in Summer Reading 2019; Editor's Pick
"In Milwaukee Noir, among the latest titles in Akashic Books' Noir series, 14 writers who've lived here offer a sinister tour of Brew City's radically diverse neighborhoods...Many of these pieces...work effectively not only as atmospheric fiction but also as influential social commentary."
"Akashic's distinctive series of crime fiction anthologies arrives in Brewtown. The fourteen contributors include familiar Wisconsin writers Valerie Laken, Jennifer Morales, Jane Hamilton, Larry Watson, Nick Petrie and my Journal Sentinel colleague James E. Causey. Like other volumes in this series, Milwaukee Noir foregrounds specific locations: for example, Watson's story has a Yankee Hill setting, and Morales' is set in the Silver City neighborhood."
Akashic Books continues its award-winning series of original noir anthologies, launched in 2004 with Brooklyn Noir. Each book comprises all new stories, each one set in a distinct neighborhood or location within the respective city.
Brand-new stories from: Jane Hamilton, Reed Farrel Coleman, Valerie Laken, Matthew J. Prigge, Shauna Singh Baldwin, Vida Cross, Larry Watson, Frank Wheeler Jr., Derrick Harriell, Christi Clancy, James E. Causey, Mary Thorson, Nick Petrie, and Jennifer Morales.
From the introduction by Tim Hennessy:
Presently, Milwaukee is going through a renaissance--abandoned factories being converted to condos, craft breweries and distilleries pushing out corner taverns--yet at the same time it is among the most segregated and impoverished big cities in the country. The gentrification of neighborhoods outside of downtown bear the impact of twentieth-century redlining efforts, forcing residents out due to housing demand, adding fuel to the affordable-housing crisis. Such an environment and atmosphere make excellent fodder for noir fiction...
The book you're holding is the first of its kind--a short fiction collection about Milwaukee, by writers who've experienced life here.