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A riveting novel about the aftermath of a brutal murder of three teenage girls, written in incantatory prose "that's as fine as any being written by an American author today" (Ben Fountain).
One late autumn evening in a Texas town, two strangers walk into an ice cream shop shortly before closing time. They bind up the three teenage girls who are working the counter, set fire to the shop, and disappear. See How Small tells the stories of the survivors -- family, witnesses, and suspects -- who must endure in the wake of atrocity. Justice remains elusive in their world, human connection tenuous.
Hovering above the aftermath of their deaths are the three girls. They watch over the town and make occasional visitations, trying to connect with and prod to life those they left behind. "See how small a thing it is that keeps us apart," they say. A master of compression and lyrical precision, Scott Blackwood has surpassed himself with this haunting, beautiful, and enormously powerful new novel.
About the Author
Scott Blackwood is the author of two previous books of fiction, In the Shadow of Our House and We Agreed to Meet Just Here, and the recipient of a Whiting Writers' Award. He's also the Grammy Award-nominated author of The Rise and Fall of Paramount Records, a two-volume narrative about American's greatest "race record" label and the rise of early jazz and blues. Blackwood resided in Austin, Texas, for many years and now lives in Chicago.
"Horrible deaths of the innocent, and the various means and tactics by which the living manage to go on in the aftermath of unsolved horror, form the heart of Scott Blackwood's haunted and haunting novel, See How Small
. His prose is crisp and his narrative approach is fresh and inventive, calmly pushing forward, with characters rendered so convincingly you think about sending cards of condolence or calling with advice on the investigation."—Daniel Woodrell, author of Winter's Bone and The Maid's Version
"See How Small
is superb. In prose that's as fine as any being written today, Scott Blackwood plumbs the depths of a story that is alternately haunting, terrifying, and achingly tragic. Blackwood illuminates the human condition even as he breaks our hearts."—Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
"Scott Blackwood is a wizard, and in See How Small
he puts his skills to dazzling use as he anatomizes a town and a crime. Best of all is the deep empathy he brings to his characters, innocent and guilty, wise and confused; all of them are given the grace of his understanding. A vivid and astonishing novel."—Margot Livesey, author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy
"The novel has much to say about the mysteries of the human psyche, the far-reaching effects of violence, and the disparate ways grief works on people."
"See How Small
is the sort of book that is so good, it's difficult to even talk about it. You want to just place it in people's hands and say, 'Shhhhhhh, just slow down and read this.' Blackwood takes the most devastating story imaginable and lifts it-heart and soul-into something transcendent."—Peter Orner
"Similar...to Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones
, this lyrical, abstract, and less sentimental novel by Blackwood...may haunt literary fiction readers long after the unsettling ending."—Library Journal
—Chicago MagazineSEE HOW SMALL
"The greatest novels are somehow more than just novels. They challenge their readers and ferry them through madness toward unknown and undiscovered places.... See How Small
is just such a book.... With beautiful language and sometimes surreal passages, [Blackwood] delves into the various characters connected to the deaths of the young women.... A tour de force. It is both epic and intimate."—William Jensen, Texas Books in Review
"A thoughtful portrait of a grieving town."
—Joumana Khatib, New York Times Book Review