One late autumn evening in a Texas town, two strangers walk into an ice cream shop shortly before closing time. They bind up the three teenage girls who are working the counter, set fire to the shop, and disappear. See How Small tells the stories of the survivors -- family, witnesses, and suspects -- who must endure in the wake of atrocity. Justice remains elusive in their world, human connection tenuous.
Hovering above the aftermath of their deaths are the three girls. They watch over the town and make occasional visitations, trying to connect with and prod to life those they left behind. "See how small a thing it is that keeps us apart," they say. A master of compression and lyrical precision, Scott Blackwood has surpassed himself with this haunting, beautiful, and enormously powerful new novel.
About the Author
"A genre-defying novel of powerful emotion, intrigue, and truth.... Reminiscent of Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones and based on a similar, still-unsolved 1991 case in Austin, Tex., Blackwood explores the effects of senseless crime on an innocent, tightly knit community, using deft prose to mine the essence of human grief and compassion."—Publishers Weekly (starred)
"Horrible deaths of the innocent, and the various means and tactics by which the living manage to go on in the aftermath of unsolved horror, form the heart of Scott Blackwood's haunted and haunting novel, See How Small. His prose is crisp and his narrative approach is fresh and inventive, calmly pushing forward, with characters rendered so convincingly you think about sending cards of condolence or calling with advice on the investigation."—Daniel Woodrell, author of Winter's Bone and The Maid's Version
"See How Small is superb. In prose that's as fine as any being written today, Scott Blackwood plumbs the depths of a story that is alternately haunting, terrifying, and achingly tragic. Blackwood illuminates the human condition even as he breaks our hearts."—Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
"Scott Blackwood is a wizard, and in See How Small he puts his skills to dazzling use as he anatomizes a town and a crime. Best of all is the deep empathy he brings to his characters, innocent and guilty, wise and confused; all of them are given the grace of his understanding. A vivid and astonishing novel."—Margot Livesey, author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy
"See How Small is the sort of book that is so good, it's difficult to even talk about it. You want to just place it in people's hands and say, 'Shhhhhhh, just slow down and read this.' Blackwood takes the most devastating story imaginable and lifts it-heart and soul-into something transcendent."—Peter Orner
"Similar...to Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones, this lyrical, abstract, and less sentimental novel by Blackwood...may haunt literary fiction readers long after the unsettling ending."—Library Journal
"Fans of HBO's The Leftovers may find this book appealing, because both offer grim looks at the aftermath of life-altering events."—Megan McLachlan, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"Small things keep us apart, and sometimes those same small things keep us together, at least whenever that's possible. It's a kind of paradox that Blackwood explores with compassionate eyes, beautifully poetic writing and artistic fearlessness. See How Small is a brutal, necessary and near perfect novel."—Michael Schaub, NPR's Best Books of 2015
SEE HOW SMALL
"The greatest novels are somehow more than just novels. They challenge their readers and ferry them through madness toward unknown and undiscovered places.... See How Small is just such a book.... With beautiful language and sometimes surreal passages, [Blackwood] delves into the various characters connected to the deaths of the young women.... A tour de force. It is both epic and intimate."—William Jensen, Texas Books in Review