The path to adulthood is littered with broken relationships. In the suburbs of 1920s Chicago two boys form an unlikely friendship. Spud Latham is ...Show synopsisThe path to adulthood is littered with broken relationships. In the suburbs of 1920s Chicago two boys form an unlikely friendship. Spud Latham is slow at school but quick to fight and a natural athlete - Lymie Peters, thin, pigeon-chested and terrible at games, is devoted to him. As they graduate from school to college, tensions start to surface. It is Lymie who first meets Sally Forbes, but it is Spud she falls in love with. This signals the end of their friendship and the rift is almost more than Lymie can bear.Hide synopsis
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Though plainly set in the early twentieth century, this can easily have the setting of the present age, or whenever the reader is or was in emerging adulthood. Thus as Enrico Caruso is to opera, William Maxwell is to the novel about the love of friends. This is a beautiful story of the complexities of a long-term relationship, from what Lymie and Spud bring into it, to what proceeds from their interaction. This plot also taps into everyone's misadventures over whether something unsaid should remain so. Each of the main characters is presented as sympathetic -- each is tough and vulnerable, each is talented and lacking. One could want either one as his best friend, but without envying that they are best friends for each other. Written in four parts with a total of sixty-one chapters, this is as good a read for one sitting on a summer afternoon as it is for the short spells of a series of train commutes. Either way, Maxwell makes you want to reach the ending.
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