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Authors: Bruce Wagner

I'll Let You Go

BOOK: I'll Let You Go
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Praise for
I'll Let You Go

“A panoramic portrait of Los Angeles, from the homeless shelters of the inner city to the middle class suburbs of the Valley to the princely mansions of Bel Air … Mr. Wagner delineates his characters with such sympathy and verve, such a sharp eye for the status details that reveal their social standing (and secret pipe dreams), that they become palpable human beings, real in their griefs and yearnings and illusions.… Luxuriant, bewitching prose.”

—Michiko Kakutani,
The New York Times

“Wagner's competing mythologies of millennial California mesh with the precision of gold-plated gears in a luxury timepiece. Up-to-the-minute cultural allusions … complement a vision that is rich with comic plot threads and a brash authorial voice but also tinged with melancholy.… A sincere exploration of life, death and immortality.”


“Wagner's astute portrayal of the follies of the rich is exceeded by his skill at rendering the lives of the poor. The chapters on Amaryllis, for example, are worthy of a latter-day Dickens.… The book succeeds, for it champions elements of fiction too often neglected in contemporary literature—plot, character, suspense—elements proved by the Victorians to have an enduring capacity to delight.”

—The Washington Post

“A tour de force.”

Library Journal

“A masterful, modern-day fantasy of millionaires and madmen, fathers and sons, reality and dreams.”

—Kirkus Reviews
(starred review)

“The author of the audacious
I'm Losing You
extends his comic vision to epic proportions.… Proust meets Prozac along the class divide in Los Angeles.… [A] smart, funny novel.”


The Corrections
was the family epic that topped every critic's list in 2001, Bruce Wagner's
I'll Let You Go
is the saga posed to carry the literary baton this year.… The language is elaborate and rich.… A rich Tenenbaums for the West Coast set? Yes, and so much more.”


“Wagner's Los Angeles [is] a city overflowing with eccentric philanthropists and violent madmen.”

—The New Yorker

“If Dickens were writing in 21st century Los Angeles, he might produce something akin to Bruce Wagner's capacious new novel.… Wagner's narrative style is unique—sometimes lushly romantic, other times acerbically satiric.… [Wagner] manages to pull it all off with considerable aplomb.”


“Dickens? Forster? These are heavy comparisons for a … contemporary writer to live up to, but Wagner compels you to think along these lines.… A book that is clearly intended to be a major novel and, more often than not, manages to succeed. [Wagner's] is one of the more exciting talents in American fiction.”

—The Sunday Star-Ledger

I'll Let You Go
is thoroughly engrossing and destined for greatness.”

—Time Out New York
, Fiction Roundup

“Wagner revels in the opulent lifestyles of his eccentric cast of characters and … requests the reader's indulgence in allowing him this luxurious revelry.… It's well worth the time.”


“The first must-read novel of the year.”


“An elegant and bitter family saga that owes as much to Dickens as it does to

, Talk Ten

“Wagner takes so many chances, breaks so many rules and gets away with it so spectacularly that it seems as if he has dragged Dickens into the 21st century by his boot heels.… A great novel for the new millennium.”

The Sunday Oregonian

“The sprawling, Dickensian story [Wagner] tells in
I'll Let You Go
, one of compassionate oddballs simply trying to find a little love, is something every substance-starved reader will savor.”

—Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“[Wagner] continues his exploration of the social customs of the Left Coast. [
I'll Let You Go
] ups the ante with a ripping neo-Victorian novel centered around the three-generation Trotter dynasty of Bel-Air.… Once begun,
I'll Let You Go


“A robustly populated, fiendishly complicated story of class inequity and high romance.… There are moments when a reader thinks Wagner himself must be a foundling, some long-lost bastard son of Dickens and Jane Austen.… Hugely lovely … and, for all its debt to the past, altogether singular.”

—San Francisco Chronicle

“A modern-day book of marvels …”

—The Free Lance-Star
, Fredericksburg, Virginia

“A stunning saga of modern Los Angeles … Outrageously extravagant … It's astonishing, this novel. No other word quite fits.”

Polly Paddock,
Times Union Albany

I'll Let You Go
is a work of fiction, and all of the events, situations, incidents, and dialogues contained in it are products of the author's imagination. Other than those well-known persons whose inclusion is incidental to the plot, the characters in the work are inventions of the author, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. Where the names of actual persons are used, or symbols or names of actual entities are referred to, the situations, occurrences, and descriptions relating to them, and the statements and dialogues attributed to them, are completely fictional and are not to be construed as real.

2003 Random House Trade Paperback Edition
Copyright © 2002 by Bruce Wagner

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. Published in the United States by Random House Trade Paperbacks, an imprint of The Random House Ballantine Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York, and simultaneously in Canada by Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto.

Random House Trade Paperbacks and colophon are trademarks of Random House, Inc.

This work was originally published in hardcover by Villard Books, an imprint of The Random House Ballantine Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., in 2002.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Wagner, Bruce.
 I'll let you go : a novel / Bruce Wagner.
      p. cm.
   eISBN: 978-1-58836-112-7
 1. Beverly Hills (Calif.)—Fiction. 2. Los Angeles (Calif.)—Fiction. 3. Homeless persons—Fiction. 4. Social classes—Fiction. 5. Rich people—Fiction. I. Title.
PS3573.A369 I45 2001
813′.54—dc21             2001026729

Frontispiece illustration: Sandow Birk c/o Koplin Gallery

Grateful acknowledgment is made to the following for permission to reprint previously published material:

Carcanet Press Limited:
“Warning to Children,” from
Complete Poems
, by Robert Graves. Reprinted by permission of Carcanet Press Limited.

Chronicle Books, San Francisco:
Four lines from “The House that Crack Built,” from
The House That Crack Built
by Clark Taylor. Copyright © 1992 by Clark Taylor. Reprinted by permission of Chronicle Books, San Francisco.

Scribner, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. and A. P. Watt Ltd.:
Five lines from “The Song of the Happy Shepherd,” from
The Collected Works of W. B. Yeats
, Volume 1:
The Poems, Revised
, by Richard J. Finneran. Rights outside of the United States are controlled by A. P. Watt Ltd. Reprinted by permission of Scribner, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., and A. P. Watt Ltd.

Random House website address:


Warning to Children

Children, if you dare to think
Of the greatness, rareness, muchness,
Fewness of this precious only
Endless world in which you say
You live, you think of things like this:
Blocks of slate enclosing dappled
Red and green, enclosing tawny
Yellow nets, enclosing white
And black acres of dominoes,
Where a neat brown paper parcel
Tempts you to untie the string.
In the parcel a small island,
On the island a large tree,
On the tree a husky fruit.
Strip the husk and pare the rind off:
In the kernel you will see
Blocks of slate enclosed by dappled
Red and green, enclosed by tawny
Yellow nets, enclosed by white
And black acres of dominoes,
Where the same brown paper parcel—
Children, leave the string alone!
For who dares undo the parcel
Finds himself at once inside it,
On the island, in the fruit,
Blocks of slate about his head,
Finds himself enclosed by dappled
Green and red, enclosed by yellow
Tawny nets, enclosed by black
And white acres of dominoes,
With the same brown paper parcel
Still unopened on his knee.
And, if he then should dare to think
Of the fewness, muchness, rareness,
Greatness of this endless only
Precious world in which he says
He lives—he then unties the string.

—Robert Graves

So let me sing of names remembered
Because they, living not, can ne'er be dead
Or long time take their memory quite away
From us poor singers of an empty day

—William Morris
“The Earthly Paradise”

BOOK: I'll Let You Go
6.95Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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