The Lives of Edie Pritchard

The Lives of Edie Pritchard

by Larry Watson

Hardcover

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Overview

By the Bestselling Author of Let Him Go

A Most Anticipated Book of the Summer: The Millions * Library Journal * Parade

"Characters so real they could walk off the page, virtuoso writing and up-all-night drama."
People

From acclaimed novelist Larry Watson, a multigenerational story of the West told through the history of one woman trying to navigate life on her own terms.
 
Edie—smart, self‑assured, beautiful—always worked hard. She worked as a teller at a bank, she worked to save her first marriage, and later, she worked to raise her daughter even as her second marriage came apart. Really, Edie just wanted a good life, but everywhere she turned, her looks defined her. Two brothers fought over her. Her second husband became unreasonably possessive and jealous. Her daughter resented her. And now, as a grandmother, Edie finds herself harassed by a younger man. It’s been a lifetime of proving that she is allowed to exist in her own sphere. The Lives of Edie Pritchard tells the story of one woman just trying to be herself, even as multiple men attempt to categorize and own her.

Triumphant, engaging, and perceptive, Watson’s novel examines a woman both aware of her physical power and constrained by it, and how perceptions of someone in a small town can shape her life through the decades.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

05/04/2020

Set mostly in eastern Montana, Watson’s vibrant character study (after As Good as Gone) reads like a trio of scintillating novellas, each set 20 years apart. In the late 1960s, young bank teller Edie Linderman is married to Dean, a domineering sporting goods clerk. Their wobbly marriage is beset with maybes and ifs. Maybe she should have married Dean’s more ambitious twin brother, Roy, a flirtatious furniture salesman. If she hadn’t gone with Roy to buy a pick-up, maybe he wouldn’t have had the crippling accident, the murky circumstances of which ignited Dean’s jealousy, and maybe she wouldn’t have left town with a one-way bus ticket west and married smarmy insurance agent Gary Dunn, as she does in the second part of the novel, set in 1987. Edie and Dean have a daughter who, by 18, wearies of her dull life. Edie leaves Gary, hoping to develop a better relationship with her rebellious teenager. In 2007, now 64, Edie relies on her life experiences to rescue her self-absorbed adolescent granddaughter who becomes embroiled with yet another set of battling brothers. Like in the best works of Richard Ford and Elizabeth Strout, Watson shows off a keen eye for regional details, a pitch-perfect ear for dialogue, and an affinity for sharp characterization. This triptych is richly rewarding. Agent: PJ Mark, Janklow & Nesbit. (July)

Kirkus Reviews

★ 2020-04-13
A smart, strong Montana woman struggles to define herself over decades as the men in her life try to control her.

Watson’s novel is set against the rugged landscape of Montana, the perfect backdrop for a story about a woman who spends her life running up against and away from mountains of male ego and desire. Smart and decisive but too often defined by her good looks, Edie appears at three different points in time: As Edie Linderman, a young wife to Dean, a man whose twin brother is drawn to and obsessed by her; as Edie Dunn, caught in a volatile marriage to a jealous second husband and mother to an unhappy teenage daughter; and as Edie Pritchard, a 60-something grandmother still trying to live on her terms but imposed upon by family and the past. As they do to all of us, outside forces buffet Edie’s peace of mind and forward momentum. In each segment, she faces conflict: an ugly random encounter with strangers and the inexplicable behavior of men; a tragic premature death; a threatening young man who underestimates who she truly is. Watson is insightful in his depiction of Edie and those who seek to control her, and his descriptions of small-town Montana life, where guns are frequently a menacing presence, reflect how the potential for violence is ever present beneath the surface of things. The novel crackles with tension, especially the second and third acts; Watson is a born storyteller, and it shows on every understated page. But Edie's story also rings with a hardscrabble poetry. “You might be out here alone someday with what you thought would be your life,” Watson writes. “And a gust of wind might blow your heart open like a screen door. And slam it just as fast.” What truly lies in Edie’s heart? That’s what she aims to find out.

A riveting and tense examination of identity, violence, and female anger.

From the Publisher

A Kirkus Reviews Best Fiction Books of 2020Best 2020 Fiction To Get Your Book Club Talking
A Booklist Editor’s Choice: Adult Books, 2020


“Set in Montana, and evoking Annie Proulx, The Lives of Edie Pritchard is a testament by one of our greatest ‘regional’ novelists to the power of stories.”
The Millions

“Larry Watson is a riveting storyteller . . . this is a fast and compelling read, sparse and dusty as the open plain. Watson’s journey is a sensory one, taking us down rippling highways and across weedy fields into basement rec rooms and out into shadowy sunsets. Though some scenes are gritty, the novel’s dialogue and imagery awaken our senses and prove once again that when depicting small-town life in the West, Larry Watson is crushing it.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Like Watson's earlier novel Orchard, The Lives of Edie Pritchard is a story about a woman whom men try to possess, but rarely make an effort to understand or even listen to . . . Watson's unfussy style makes room for nuggets of bitter humor, like a divorced and remarried woman telling a newcomer, "Mister, everyone in this room is an expert on what a marriage isn't!'”
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Set mostly in eastern Montana, Watson’s vibrant character study reads like a trio of scintillating novellas, each set 20 years apart . . .  Like in the best works of Richard Ford and Elizabeth Strout, Watson shows off a keen eye for regional details, a pitch-perfect ear for dialogue, and an affinity for sharp characterization. This triptych is richly rewarding.”
Publishers Weekly

"Watson remains incapable of creating characters who aren't fully formed individuals, as courageous as they are vulnerable, and here he again displays his rare ability to craft strong women and to describe their everyday lives with rare power."
Booklist, starred review

"Watson is insightful in his depiction of Edie and those who seek to control her, and his descriptions of small-town Montana life, where guns are frequently a menacing presence, reflect how the potential for violence is ever present beneath the surface of things. The novel crackles with tension, especially the second and third acts; Watson is a born storyteller, and it shows on every understated page. But Edie's story also rings with a hardscrabble poetry . . . A riveting and tense examination of identity, violence, and female anger."
Kirkus Reviews, starred review
 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781616209025
Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Publication date: 07/21/2020
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 65,941
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

Customer Reviews