In rural Illinois two tenant farmers share much, finally too much, until jealously leads to murder and suicide. A tenuous friendship between lonely teenagers - the narrator, whose mother has died young, and Cletus Smith, the troubled witness to his parent's misery - is shattered. After the murder and upheavals that follow, the boys never speak again. Fifty years on, the narrator attempts a reconstruction of those devastating events and the atonement of a lifetime's regret.
William Maxwell was born in Illinois in 1908. He was the author of a distinguished body of work: six novels, three short story collections, an autobiographical memoir and a collection of literary essays and reviews. A New Yorker editor for forty years, he helped to shape the prose and careers of John Updike, John Cheever, John O'Hara and Eudora Welty. So Long, See You Tomorrow won the American Book Award, and he received the PEN/Malamud Award. He died in New York in 2000.