Let Him Go
Let Him Go (back cover)

Let Him Go

A Novel

“One of the finest writers working today.” —MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE
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Now a major motion picture from Focus Features, Starring Kevin Costner and Diane Lane

Dalton, North Dakota. It’s September 1951: years since George and Margaret Blackledge lost their son when he was thrown from a horse; months since his widow left with their only grandson and married another man. Margaret is resolved to find and retrieve her beloved grandson, while George, a retired sheriff, is none too eager to stir up trouble.

Unable to sway his wife from her mission, George takes to the road with Margaret by his side, traveling through the Badlands to Montana. But when Margaret tries to bring little Jimmy home, the Blackledges find themselves entangled with the Weboy clan, who are determined not to give up the boy without a fight.

From the author who brought us Montana 1948, Let Him Go is pitch-perfect, gutsy, unwavering, and “both restrained and exquisite” (Chicago Tribune). Larry Watson is at his storytelling finest in this unforgettable return to the American West.

Publish Date
5.25 × 7.5 × 0.69 in
10.6 oz

Larry Watson

Larry Watson is the author of numerous novels, including Montana 1948, American Boy, As Good As Gone, and Let Him Go, which was adapted into a film by Focus Features and released in 2020. Born in Rugby, North Dakota, he grew up in Bismarck and is now Visiting Professor at Marquette University. He lives in Milwaukee.

Praise and Prizes

  • “If there were ever any question about Larry Watson’s reputation as one of the finest writers working today, there shouldn’t be anymore. Not after Let Him Go, Watson’s ninth book of fiction, and his best… . I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that deals so convincingly with the staying power of memory, or of the power of familial love.”

    Minneapolis Star Tribune
  • “A wonderful novel and a fine addition to Larry Watson’s work … Let Him Go is at its heart a character study, not only of George and Margaret but also its other characters, all of whom are brought to life in prose that is both restrained and exquisite.”

    Chicago Tribune
  • Let Him Go is as commanding as its title: you will be immediately gripped by the narrow-eyed, big-hearted pursuit of a child in danger. This is a literary thriller of the highest order—on par with Daniel Woodrell’s Winter’s Bone—an unrelenting quest through an unforgiving landscape and deadly family web.”

    Benjamin Percy
    author of Red Moon
  • “Slyly suspenseful, highly engaging … Known for crisp images, resonant backdrops, and sharp characterizations drawn without flashy over-accessorizing, Larry Watson’s latest traces the desperate lengths families will go to in order to protect their own.”

    Publishers Weekly
  • “A powerful story of two headstrong women, each with an unshakable resolve to hold on to what family means … Bold writing holds the reader’s attention right up to the book’s shattering conclusion. An outstanding work that is sure to expand Larry Watson’s audience of devoted readers. Not to be missed.”

    Library Journal
  • “What emerges most forcefully [in Let Him Go] is the profound, if largely unspoken, love shared by a taciturn man and woman who dig deeply into long-dormant reservoirs of grit… . Superb storytelling from a writer who continues to find a special kind of melancholy poetry in the unforgiving landscape of the mountain states.”

  • “Spartan prose for a Spartan tale of badlands justice set in North Dakota and eastern Montana in the fall of 1951. Larry Watson’s writing is the principal pleasure here. The story is simple, ageless… . The sort of book that puts the shine back on genre as an adjective to describe fiction.”

  • “In Let Him Go, Larry Watson evokes the deepest kind of suspense: that based upon the fact that humans are unpredictable and perhaps ultimately unknowable—even to their most intimate associates. This fierce, tense book is beautifully written, with spare and economical prose, out of which blooms a vivid and uncompromising portrait of the modern West. A brilliant achievement.”

    Alice LaPlante
    author of Turn of Mind