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Willem's Field

Willem's Field

A Novel

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Featuring a WSP Reading Group Guide
Purvis, Mississippi, 1974: Willem Fremont has just returned to his childhood hometown to come to grips with his past. He has spent his adult life held tight inside the clenched fist of panic disorder -- the stagnation produced by making too many wrong decisions was more paralyzing than a whole case of Jim Beam.
Determined that a trip back to the family farm will help him confront his unhappy upbringing, Willem is stunned to find his father's beloved acreage -- so much land, such a great big house -- in the hands of Eilene Till and her two grown sons. There's the plump and perennially unemployed Sonny, building a shrimp boat in the Tills' landlocked backyard, and Bruno, a disabled Vietnam vet, who escapes into his stash of old National Geographics while his wife, Leah, seeks a small measure of comfort in the day-to-day tending of their farm. How Willem navigates through these unsettled lives to find love and reconciliation in his own is at the heart of this compassionate portrait of small-town America that celebrates the unusual, embraces the unwanted, and opens its arms to all lost souls in search of a home.
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  • Washington Square Press | 
  • 432 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743238502 | 
  • June 2004
List Price $25.99
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One: 1974

Ten o'clock in the morning and already the wind was busy. A king-size wind as big as the state itself rolling across the bottom shelf of Oklahoma and into Grayson County, Texas, crossing the border with a low, chaotic cloud of highway trash carried in its wake. Empty cigarette packs and crinkled cellophane. Rattling drink cans and tattered bits of rain-stained paper. The stuff of chaos. Willem Fremont sat watching the two young girls with waist-length hair as they stood on the lip of the old highway. The wind gathering along the backside of their blue jeans and sending their shirts away from their bodies like sails. At... see more

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