In a captivating departure, Larry Watson, "a writer whose work is worthy of prizes" (Los Angeles Times Book Review), unveils a portrait of faith, obsession, and enduring love -- and a work of greater tenderness than anything he has yet written.
Love captures Paul Finley, in, of all places, his own bedroom -- literally waking him from his dreams. The night he discovers Laura Pettit standing at his windowsill, Paul is eleven years old, a boy naturally inclined toward seriousness, precociously adept at the art of watching the world without being watched. Laura is twenty-two, a fiercely passionate and independent poet already experiencing the first flickers of fame, a beautiful woman on the brink of seducing Paul's father. No matter; Paul is smitten. When she leaves him to rejoin the grown-ups' party downstairs, Laura issues Paul a wholly impossible command, one that will haunt and consume both of them for the rest of their lives: "Forget me."
Laying bare the inner life of one man during the course of nearly four decades, Larry Watson delivers a riveting treatise on the excruciating power of love -- and two of the most remarkable characters in recent American literature. Infused with breathtaking pathos and delicate grace, Laura is an extraordinary triumph of the novelist's art.
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  • Washington Square Press | 
  • 352 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780671567767 | 
  • July 2001
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Chapter One
In the summer of 1955 New England lay shimmering under one of the worst heat waves of the century. But don't try to verify this in any of the weather annals. No, this heat was intolerable not because of record-setting temperatures but because of what seemed like an unending succession of sweltering days. Swimming pools that summer were so swarming with people you couldn't swim a stroke, and beaches were so littered with bodies you couldn't walk fast enough to let the air move around you. Movie theaters, because they advertised their air-conditioning in icy blue letters, did record business, and stores that sold Popsicles, electric... see more

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