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.
A curious thing: the New York literary world is smaller than the London literary world. It also has a strange feeling of being more old-fashioned. I was edited there by the legendary Joe Fox. I...Read more