For more than five decades, Horton Foote, "the Chekhov of the small town," has chronicled with compassion and acuity the changes in American life -- both intimate and universal. His adaptation of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird and his original screenplay Tender Mercies earned him Academy Awards. He received an Indie Award for Best Writer for The Trip to Bountiful and a Pulitzer Prize for The Young Man from Atlanta. In his plays and films, Foote has returned over and over again to Wharton, Texas, where he was born and where he lives, once again, in the house in which he grew up. Now for the first time, in Farewell, Foote turns to prose to tell his own story and the stories of the real people who have inspired his characters. He was the first child of his generation of Footes, born into an extended family of aunts, great-aunts, grandparents and dozens of cousins once removed, all of whom discovered that even as a young boy Foote was an avid listener with an uncanny ability to extract a story -- including those deemed unfit for children. Foote's memories are of a time when going down to meet the train was an event whether or not you knew someone on it, when black and white children played together until segregation forced them apart at school-age. Foote beautifully maintains the child's-eye view, so that we gradually discover, as did he, that something was wrong with his Brooks uncles, that none of them proved able to keep a job or stay married or quit drinking. We see his growing understanding of all sorts of trouble -- poverty, racism, injustice, marital strife, depression and fear. His memoir is both a celebration of the immense importance of community in our earlier history and evidence that even a strong community cannot save a lost soul. In all of Foote's writing, he reveals the immense drama behind quiet lives, or as Frank Rich has said, "the unbearable turbulence beneath a tranquil surface." Farewell is as deeply moving as the best of Foote's writing for film and theater, and a gorgeous testimony to his own faith in the human spirit.
Lynna Williams Chicago TribuneFarewell honors...the specificity of time and place....Along the way, he makes us believe in the past.
Harper Lee author of To Kill a Mockingbird Poignant, mirthful, eccentric, and deeply loving, Horton Foote's people mirror the Depression years of the South when the small town was at its zenith. Here, as in many of his plays, he preserves for us a society which, with all its inequities, was a unique part of America. A beautiful work.
Andrew O'Hehir The New York Times Book Review This warm, spare chronicle...provides a key to the birth of his distinctive sensibility.
Reynolds Price author of Roxanna Slade In Farewell, Horton Foote turns to the actual people and events that lie behind so many of his plays -- the apparently peaceful but land-mined surroundings of his childhood in Texas. The whole account is rich in Foote's most striking skills -- the brisk clarity of his memory and the uncanny ability of his plain language to summon the urgent human complexities.
Dan Hulbert The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Intimate astonishments jump out -- like fish breaking the surface of a still, dark lake from Foote's quiet, warm, dignified narrative....If you are new to Foote, Farewell may prompt you to explore his distinguished body of work. When the 16-year-old Horton boards the bus for Dallas and acting school, and bids farewell to Wharton, you may find yourself impatient for another installment of his long and well-lived life.
Jack Helbig Booklist His tales, most of them set in the Texas of his childhood, unfold with the slow, easy grace of a flower opening to the sun....But by the end of the all-too-brief, beautifully written volume, Foote's relations feel like our family, and Foote's memories of life in the segregated South before and during the Great Depression seem more vivid than any of our own.
Barry X. Miller Library Journal Not surprisingly, Foote writes prose as beautifully as he crafts the dialog that has earned him Academy Awards for the screenplays of To Kill a Mockingbird and Tender Mercies and a Pulitzer Prize for his play The Young Man from Atlanta....Foote's memoir is a loving and gentle recollection that every library will want.
Harper Lee author of To Kill a Mockingbird Poignant, mirthful, eccentric and deeply loving, Horton Foote's people mirror the Depression years of the South when the small town was at its zenith. Here, as in many of his plays, he preserves for us a society which, with all its inequities, was a unique part of America. A beautiful work.