Go with Me

Go with Me

3.8 8
by Castle Freeman

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The Vermont hill country is the stark, vivid setting for this gripping and entertaining story of bold determination. The local villain, Blackway, is making life hellish for Lillian, a young woman from parts elsewhere. Her boyfriend has fled the state in fear, and local law enforcement can do nothing to protect her. She resolves, however, to stand her ground, and to


The Vermont hill country is the stark, vivid setting for this gripping and entertaining story of bold determination. The local villain, Blackway, is making life hellish for Lillian, a young woman from parts elsewhere. Her boyfriend has fled the state in fear, and local law enforcement can do nothing to protect her. She resolves, however, to stand her ground, and to fight back. A pair of unlikely allies – Lester, a crafty old-timer, and Nate, a powerful but naive youth – join her cause, understanding that there is no point in taking up the challenge unless you’re willing to “go through.” In this modern-day drama, a kind of Greek chorus – wry, witty, digressive; obsessively, amusingly reminiscent; skeptical, opinionated, and not always entirely sober – enriches the telling of this unforgettable tale as the reader follows the threesome’s progress on their dangerous, suspenseful quest.

Editorial Reviews

Ron Charles
Chivalry isn't dead; it has just retreated to the backwoods of Vermont. Far beyond the range of leaf-peepers, quaint B&Bs and wealthy liberals lie millions of acres of dark forest, the kind of rich soil that chivalric romance has grown in for centuries. James Fenimore Cooper first saw the possibilities of moving the knights errant of medieval Europe to New England's woods, and now Castle Freeman Jr. performs an equally radical transplant with Go with Me, his oddly witty tale of a damsel in distress…Freeman is telling a classic tale here, but he's placed it very plausibly in the grim present day of an economically depressed village. This is obviously a setting he knows well; he lives in Newfane, Vt., and for 25 years he's been a writer for the Old Farmer's Almanac, that atavistic collection of weather predictions and homespun advice. Go with Me ambles along with that same mixture of corny irony and shrewd wisdom.
—The Washington Post
Kirkus Reviews
A small masterpiece of black comedy and suspense about a trio of backwoods heroes who embark upon a modern-day quest. Covering 24 hours, set in small-town Vermont, the novel begins and ends with a certain New England ennui, but what fills the in-between is an absorbing tale of toppling the giant of the woods. The day begins with Lillian sitting in her car, a paring knife in her lap, her dead cat in the passenger seat. Waiting for the sheriff, she wants to lodge a complaint against Blackway, a notorious thug who has been stalking her, and most recently offed fluffy Annabelle. Sheriff Wingate says he can't help without proof (he's strictly by the book), but maybe she should talk to some men at the old mill to see what they can do. Mill owner Whizzer sends Lillian off with Nate the Great, a large young man with more brawn than brains, and Lester Speed, an old-timer whose bag full of tricks will resolve Lillian's problems. While the three track down their man (against Nate's steady refrain: "I ain't afraid of Blackway" and Lester's vague plan to defeat a notorious outlaw), Whizzer and his gang of loafers sit in the mill office (one suspects this is a daily occurrence) and drink beer, philosophize and fill in some of the backstory about Lillian, Lester and Nate. Whizzer and the boys are beautifully nuanced, familiar and original, as they happily pontificate about nothing much. Meanwhile, our heroes, a few steps behind Blackway, find themselves at a trashy motel, in a windowless bar (where a man loses an ear thanks to Lester's quick wrist) and finally in a forest, where they plan to confront Blackway at his converted bus. His novel a loose rendering of a King Arthur tale, Freeman (My Life andAdventures, 2002, etc.) builds a sense of otherworldly menace around Blackway, part petty-crook, part bogeyman. It seems all but impossible that an unarmed woman, a hulking youth and a limping old man could slay this beast. If all novels were this good, Americans would read more.

Product Details

Steerforth Press
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Penguin Random House Publisher Services
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Meet the Author

Castle Freeman Jr. is the award-winning author of two previous novels, a story collection, and a collection of essays. He has been a regular essayist for The Old Farmer’s Almanac since 1982, and lives in Newfane, Vermont.

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Go with Me 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ABookAWeekES More than 1 year ago
Lillian is fed up. Whatever her boyfriend Kevin, now ex-boyfriend, was mixed up in has gotten way out of hand. Even worse, he's fled the small Vermont town leaving her to fend for herself. The guy who he wronged, Blackway, has now turned his attention to her. It started as simple threats, but quickly escalated, leaving her car wrecked, cat killed, and her emotions at a head. When the local police can't find any way to legally assist her, she decides to hunker down and put an end to this by herself. At the suggestion of the sheriff, she seeks the assistance of a local man who had his own run in with Blackway years ago. Blackway carries a reputation of being someone you don't want to get involved with. Most in the town seem to accept this as a fact and steer clear of any mention of him. When she goes to the old mill to try to find help, she is met instead by a group of old-timers who pass the time by drinking and swapping stories and gossip. The recommended helper is nowhere to be found, but at the insistence of Whizzer, the kind of leader of the group of men, she leaves accompanied by Lester, a man who has worked at the saw mill for most of his life, and Nate, the young guy who is just learning the ropes. With the help of these two men, Lillian seeks Blackway and attempts to put a stop to his violence. This is a strange little story. There is no doubt that author Castle Freeman has a strong voice in his writing. At only 160 pages, however, there is little time for the characters to really develop. Instead, each character is given a kind of face value exterior with only subtle hints at deeper emotions or motivations. As the story alternates between the mismatched trio's search for Blackway and the group of old gossiping men, reminiscent of a Greek chorus, the story tends to lose some of its steam. With constant interruptions, the action kind of ends with no real bang, leaving me wondering if it was really worth my time to follow these characters in the first place. Part of me feels like this story had a lot of pottential and could have been fleshed out into someting great. The other part questions the intention of the author and his seemingly trivial story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a staff recommendation at the Torrance store. Whan you're looking for something different don't be afraid to pick up one of the staff recommended books, you will not be disappointed. This is a great weekend read.
JgleJne More than 1 year ago
i will admit i didn't make it past the first couple chapters before i was bored with trying to keep up with the flurry of characters you are first introduced to and trying to figure out the whole plot of the book. i got frustrated and just put the book aside and gave it away. it made me a little dizzy trying to keep up with the story.
Eudy_Knight More than 1 year ago
The premise is a little whacky but the modern writing style makes you keep flipping the pages to see if there is more to it, then you realize you know everything you need to. Remember, this is fiction and a quick read (and don't try this at home). Bizarre premise with unlikely characters, unlikely plot and setting; but somehow you get hooked in the first few pages and can't seem to put it down. Less than 200 pages, go ahead and knock it out.
TheReadingWriter More than 1 year ago
This slim volume is a timeless classic. It is almost entirely conversation, though occasionally the author slips in a descriptive phrase to focus our eye. We listen while a bunch of old men sit around a ruined chair factory in rural Vermont with a case of beer. A couple of other people search for, and find, the town's local bad boy, providing the novel's only action scenes. Nothing quite like this around, and if there were, this would still be one of the very best. Good any time of the year, this one bears rereading. While the setting is Vermont, it could just as easily have been Arkansas. The sentiments and the characters are as universal as the day is long.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago