Back William Maxwell

William Maxwell

1908–2000
William Maxwell, 1961. (Walter Daran/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

Major works:
Time Will Darken It • So Long, See You Tomorrow

Excerpt from

So Long, See You Tomorrow

William Maxwell

I very much doubt that I would have remembered for more than fifty years the murder of a tenant farmer I never laid eyes on if (1) the murderer hadn’t been the father of somebody I knew, and (2) I hadn’t later on done something I was ashamed of afterward. This memoir—if that’s the right name for it—is a roundabout, futile way of making amends.
Before I can go into all that, I have to take up another subject. When my father was getting along in years and the past began to figure more in his conversation, I asked him one day what my mother was like. I knew what she was like as my mother but I thought it was time somebody told me what she was like as a person. To my surprise he said, “That’s water over the dam,” shutting me up but also leaving me in doubt, because of his abrupt tone of voice, whether he didn’t after all this time have any feeling about her much, or did have but didn’t think he ought to. In any case he didn’t feel like talking about her to me.

Read a passage from So Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell
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