American Boy by Larry Watson

American Boy

by Larry Watson

(2011, Milkweed Editions)

 We were exposed to these phenomena in order that we might learn something, but of course the lessons we learn are not always what was intended.
So begins Matthew Garth’s story of the fall of 1962, when the shooting of a young woman on Thanksgiving Day sets off a chain of unsettling events in Willow Falls, Minnesota. Matthew first sees Louisa Lindahl in Dr. Dunbar’s home office, and at the time her bullet wound makes nearly as strong an impression as her unclothed body. Fueled over the following weeks by his feverish desire for this mysterious woman and a deep longing for the comfort and affluence that appears to surround the Dunbars, Matthew finds himself drawn into a vortex of greed, manipulation, and ultimately betrayal.

Immersive, heartbreaking, and richly evocative of time and place, this long-awaited new novel marks the return of a great American storyteller.

 Larry Watson

Author’s Bio:

LARRY WATSON is the author of seven widely acclaimed novels, including the best-selling Montana 1948, which was awarded the Milkweed National Fiction Prize and a Best Book citation by the American Library Association, short-listed for the IMPAC Dublin International Award, and published in ten foreign editions. Over the course of his career, Watson has been praised for the “unflinching honesty and complete respect” he shows to his characters (Booklist), and his novels have been called “captivating and haunting” (Washington Post), “remarkable” (Baltimore Sun), “utterly mesmerizing” (The Nation), and lauded as small masterpieces which “pull you immediately into [their] depths and settle inside your bones for a long and haunting stay” (San Francisco Chronicle). Larry Watson lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with his family. For more, see


Praise for American Boy

“A gripping, poignant coming-of-age story that opens with a gunshot that will ultimately bury its bullet in your heart. American Boy is an American
classic.” —Benjamin Percy, author of The Wilding and Refresh, Refresh

“Youthful passions, heartbreaks, loyalties and moral uncertainties are all rendered in vivid color.” —David Rhodes, author of Driftless

Praise for Larry Watson

“There’s something eminently universal in Watson’s ponderings on the human condition, and it’s refracted through a nearly perfect eye for character, place, and the rhythms of language.” —The Nation

“Watson’s tales are unforgettable tales of experience, set in a place as unchanging as any in America; a rare place where we still look for roots and a vanished frontier, and where we still uncover horrors that bring down reminders of what it is to be human no matter where we are.” —Oregonian

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