To be Sung Underwater, Paperback Book
4.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


For you, I was a chapter-a good chapter maybe, or even your favorite chapter, but, still, just a chapter-and for me, you were the book.' Judith Whitman believes in the sort of love that 'picks you up in Akron, Ohio, and sets you down in Rio de Janeiro'. But she married more pragmatically. Before her marriage to a banker, before her career as a film editor in Los Angeles, Judith was 17 and living in Nebraska, where she met Willy Blunt, a carpenter whose pale blue eyes and easy smile awakened in Judith the reckless girl he alone imagined her to be. Marrying Willy seemed a natural thing to promise. But a violent episode followed by acceptance to a prestigious university carried Judith away.

Twenty years later, Judith's sturdy-seeming marriage is suddenly hazy with secrets, and her thoughts drift back to the time when she and Willy had escaped to a small world where sunlight seemed always to fall from a softer angle. What happens now when she holds in her hand the number for the man who believed it, long ago, when she declared her love?


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I've been meaning to read Tom McNeal and am very glad to have done so. Judith is having a mid-life crisis. Despite a life which looks good from the outside, she is unmoored and looks back one year in Nebraska, her senior year in high school, and her intense first love affair with Willy Blunt. The story shifts from past to present culminating in a a real life merging of the two. The characters are likeable and believable, the writing is an example of simple and declarative and the sense of place during the Nebraska portions makes you feel like you're there. Although many reviewers didn't like the ending, to me, it range true. to me.