See How Small

Scott Blackwood

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.

Reviews of See How Small

  • ‘A brutal, necessary and near perfect novel’ NPR

    ‘Mesmerizing … In lyrical, often dreamlike prose, Blackwood illuminates the nature of grief and the connections among the living and the dead’ People

    ‘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

    ‘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)

    ‘Blackwood’s short, shard-like chapters cleverly reflect the jagged emotional fragmentation of his characters’ Daily Mail

    ‘Blackwood’s novel has a delicate lyricism’ Sunday Times

    ‘Haunted and haunting … 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

    ‘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