Spanning more than fifty years, the twenty-one stories in this collection may be said to represent the life's work of William Maxwell.
In settings that range from small town Illinois to the Upper East Side of Manhattan, these stories are distinguished by Maxwell's inimitable wisdom and kindness, his sense of the small details that make up a life, the nuances of joy and sadness that change its direction. Whether describing the reunion of two brothers who will never agree, the furniture of the apartment that becomes everything to a childless couple, the search for the perfect French meal or the life of a ne'er-do-well uncle, Maxwell's stories capture responses that are recognisable in us all.
“William Maxwell's tales, long and short, have the elusive ability to reveal us to ourselves”
Erica Wagner, The Times
“However different their settings the sensibility remains constant. It is decorous, highly civilised and deeply thoughtful”
Anthony Quinn, Observer
“All of them share the effect of a brilliant view - as though a window were opened on a contained and vivid scene...There is a rare clarity and economy here - along with that wise measured humanity”
Penelope Lively, Spectator
“The stories are formidable...we know we are in the presence of a master craftsman”
Sydney Morning Herald
“Maxwell's triumph is to bring brightness and a seething, submerged emotion to an America long dead... he offers us scrupulously executed, moving landscapes of American's twentieth century, and they do not fade”
Claire Messud, Times Literary Supplement