Jean Thompson
Jean's Blog

RIP Larry Woiwode

Larry Woiwode

Today brings news of the death of Larry Woiwode, best known for the 1975 novel, Beyond the Bedroom Wall.  Woiwode had been a student at the University of Illinois, as I had, taking classes from  some of the same teachers.  I remember him giving a campus reading after Beyond the Bedroom Wall came out, when I was a young, a very young, instructor there. The novel had taken him more than five years to write.  It was published to great acclaim, but he left that world behind him to farm in his native North Dakota.  Although he produced other writings from time to time, there were no other blockbusters.

I don’t remember anything we might have said to each other;  he was less than ten years older than I was, but there was a huge gap in terms of our histories and achievements.  I wish I’d had the nerve to ask him about fame, success, and how he coped with them.  Later, I would have liked to ask him about the choices he made, about what he found room for in his life, and what he did not.  It’s too late for conversations but not too late to go back and read his books.