Read The Wasp Eater by William Lychack Online


"The Wasp Eater has an uncanny precision about love and forgiveness . . . It is one of the best narratives I have ever read about those who are unforgiven, and the effect of this refusal on a child." -- Charles Baxter Deeply felt and wholly original, William Lychack's heart-rending debut charts a ten-year-old boy's quest to reunite his estranged parents. After learning of"The Wasp Eater has an uncanny precision about love and forgiveness . . . It is one of the best narratives I have ever read about those who are unforgiven, and the effect of this refusal on a child." -- Charles Baxter Deeply felt and wholly original, William Lychack's heart-rending debut charts a ten-year-old boy's quest to reunite his estranged parents. After learning of her husband's infidelity, Daniel's mother throws the man and his things out of the house. Stubborn and impulsive, Daniel's father is forbidden to visit, but he returns frequently to his son's window at night, furtively offering money, apologies, advice, and hope. Caught between his mother's pain and his father's guilt, Daniel attempts an extraordinary act in a desperate bid to repair his family. Graceful and magnetic, this impressive first novel insightfully charts the raw emotional undercurrents of a broken family through characters whose human foibles are artfully drawn. "This spare, meticulous novel opens out like a poem, its deceptively casual images bearing a universe of weight." -- New York Times Book Review"Poignant . . . Lychack finds new ways to describe feelings too achingly familiar to anyone whose parents ever delivered similar news." -- San Diego Union-Tribune"The simplicity and clarity of Lychack's writing are effective in their precise portrayal of a child's mind . . . vivid." -- PeopleWilliam Lychack's stories have appeared in The Best American Short Stories, Ploughshares, Triquarterly, and on public radio's This American Life. The Wasp Eater is his first book....

Title : The Wasp Eater
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780618618903
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 192 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Wasp Eater Reviews

  • Jodi Sh.
    2019-05-16 05:24

    It doesn't hurt that I have a little crush on Bill. But then, it's my understanding that every woman who has ever met him has a little crush on him.

  • missy jean
    2019-05-14 06:32

    Books like this make me rethink my "five stars only go to books that I've read multiple times" policy. I finished it thinking, how could I reasonably expect a novel to be better than this?! It seems unfair :) The writing in the Wasp Eater is so descriptive and beautiful, and the tale is so moving.

  • J.K. Grice
    2019-04-28 01:19

    I recall liking this book when I read it, but nothing about it seems that memorable 13 years later.

  • Becca
    2019-04-24 00:12

    I chose a smaller book this time, simul-reading this with The Godfather, not sure I’d be able to finish both in the loan time.The story tracks that of a young boy and his parents after his mother finds out his father cheated on her. She throws him out the house. The remainder of the book has the boy feeling torn between the adults, wanting them back together, wanting to be with one or the other and feeling guilty.For as simply told as The Godfather was, this was far more lyrical. It seems to skip along like a rock on a pond, dipping into feelings and the scenery of the moment before sailing off again. In those contact points it was brilliant. The cover said it ‘is at one time lucid and dream-like’. But it’s confusing, how it would jump between thought sequences, the future and reality…which was really happening?The father as the best drawn character. I felt sorry for him, rough and tumble guy who appeared to momentarily lose his way. I really wanted him to get his family back. I wanted his wife to forgive him. There also felt like there were things left unsaid in hopes that the reader would infer them. It didn’t really work. There was just too much missing…or it was too short, too conflicted to feel real.

  • Jeremiah
    2019-05-14 05:37

    William Lychack is a brilliant short story writer. Every single one I've read I have enjoyed immensely. There is a lyricism and energy about them that make them some of my favorites in recent history.The Wasp Eater, his first novel, reads like it should have been short stories. There are four or five distinct episodes, which Lychack attempts to weave together into a novel. Ultimately, it doesn't work that well. This is not to take away from his excellent prose -- there were certain lines that achieved their most idealized form -- but The Wasp Eater doesn't move the way a novel should move. Tell me these don't sound like terrific short story ideas: A husband who has been kicked out comes to his young son's window every night; his son catches him in a compromising position; a young boy journeys to a far off pawn shop; A man writes a letter from a campground; etc. I'm sure the reader could have constructed the bits left out.

  • Philip Alexander
    2019-05-07 02:34

    Just read this for the second time. This a shining example of a simple tale, well told. Lychack's clean, economical prose helps propel this story, which is essentially about twelve year old Daniel Cussler, a solitary, thoughtful boy hoping against, and occasionally trying to prevent, his parent's imminent separation / divorce. Lychack captures all sides of this family; their strengths and their failings -- no one emerges from the ordeal blameless, smelling of roses. Highly recommended for readers looking for someone who writes about family strife as well as William Maxwell, and delivers the story with the grit and honesty of Carver.

  • Karen
    2019-04-25 04:35

    THE WASP EATER is a story about a young boy who is caught in the middle when his parents split up. It's a dark story, yet the prose reads like poetry. I'm not sure if I enjoyed it so much, or I just kept reading because I wanted to see what would happen at the end.I don't feel like I really knew the characters...... Yet I felt for the boy, Daniel. I felt his pain. That feeling of humiliation when you are doing the wrong thing in front of adults....because you don't know what the right thing is.... that feeling remains fresh in my mind like it was yesterday. And by the way, the end is perfect. It's like you get to let out a big sigh of relief. Daniel and Anna can live again.

  • Jennifer
    2019-05-09 04:14

    One of the few books I've ever read all in one day. I could not put it down. Anyone who's ever been in a dysfunctional relationship can relate to what's happening, and telling the story from the point of view of a child was a brilliant idea - it made me all the more riveted, desperately wanting a happy outcome but knowing in my heart that life, in these situations, rarely gives one. I was not disappointed or depressed at the end. The author has a clear idea of what he wants to say and does not resort to shock or sap in order to find a way out of a jam for his characters. In fact, I'm looking forward to re-reading this one right away, which is also rare for me. I highly recommend this book.

  • Andrew Pessin
    2019-05-16 08:09

    A lovely book, written in a spare style, with a lot of underlying emotion that just barely ripples the surface ... Reminds me a bit of the delicate touch of Penelope Fitzgerald, nicely captures the feel of 1970s Connecticut, of a family falling apart, of a father who is kind of charming but more importantly a scoundrel, of a ten-year-old boy who doesn't know whether he wants his father back in his life (after the father cheats on the mother) or permanently out .... Definitely worth reading ....

  • Emily
    2019-04-30 06:19

    This book was really hard for me to get through in a day. I found it confusing, and the transitions were poor. It was a good story, but the characters aggravated me and the plot didn't flow. It was not a horrible book, but definitely not one of my favorites. I suspect that it may be one of those books that you can only enjoy if you've lived through a similar experience, but I'm not sure of that either.

  • Kate
    2019-05-23 04:15

    Despite the fact that I found there to be way too many similes in the imagery, I still liked the underlying honest struggle of a 10 year old boy trying to reunite his parents. The book improved greatly as the story unfolded-- I would have rated this 2 stars early on, but my rating is based more on the perfect pitch of the ending.

  • Eva Ruff
    2019-05-14 06:22

    This was a good read but once I finished it, I felt almost haunted. I was intrigued and carried along with the characters but it almost felt a little ... cold. I liked the book, but I almost feel bad for doing so. And yet I would recommend reading it.

  • Tinytextiles
    2019-05-17 00:38

    An engrossing and very tender story about a young boy trying to reunite his parents failed marriage. I liked the book's theme but the story did not always ring true. It would be interesting to see how a male reader feels about this story.

  • Amos
    2019-05-13 00:34

    A ten year old boy tries to process his parents seperation, and what that means for life as he's come to know it, in this slim yet profoundly touching tale. A story I'll remember from an author I'll be keeping an eye on....

  • Marjorie
    2019-05-04 05:19

    One day, quick read. The descriptions were very well done. It was like watching a movie in my head.

  • Mary
    2019-04-23 07:16

    Good book about a father gone away, told from the child's eyes.

  • Laura
    2019-05-09 07:14

    If you're at Lesley you must read this, if you're not, you also must read this. A book you want to gulp down all at once.

  • Chad
    2019-05-07 07:33

    This is a truly amazing short novel about a child in the middle of a divorce. The novel does a great job of capturing the general helplessness of childhood. It's a nice short book.

  • Cynthia Haggard
    2019-05-13 03:21

    William Lychack’s THE WASP EATER is a gem of a book, at 164 pages more of a novella than a novel. It is written in beautifully spare prose. Here is an example of what I mean, taken from the opening: She became a widow well before his father died. It was how she managed–the grief made her strong, the man dead before he died, and the boy still just a boy, a little wisp of a kid, ten years old, an only child, end of story. End of story, except she stood in his bedroom doorway that afternoon and said, “Your father’s not going to be home for dinner tonight.”And Daniel turned to her. “So?”“So,” she said, “I just thought you should know.”I love the little repetitions in the prose, the way the phrase ‘end of story’ forms the end of one sentence and starts another. The way the word ‘so’ goes from being a child’s sarcastic response to a mild continuation of the kind of information that family members often give each other, the kind that doesn’t really tell you anything important. Or that you have to listen to sideways in order to understand.Where this novella has problems is towards the end. After the arc of tension comes to a resolution with the father’s rescue of son Daniel from a New York City jail, it never really picks up again. Father and son take off on a aimless drive, which unfortunately is aimless on the page. There is no tension to lift it up and make it interesting. True, there is some hint that the parents might reconcile, but that possibility isn’t set up properly, mainly because we aren’t given enough interior monologue to fill in the feelings behind the typical male lack of verbal communication. Mr. Lychack’s ear catches perfectly the rhythm of father-son interaction, but without an account of the feelings simmering underneath, there is not enough emotion on the page to keep this reader interested. Three stars.

  • Susie
    2019-04-28 04:19

    I think I made a mistake by reading Lychack's book of short stories, The Architect of Flowers, first. I so enjoyed those stories and Lychack's prose. I found The Wasp Eater a let down. While most of the novel seemed to be built around the same incidents and people found in his short stories, the beautiful narrative was missing. It was still a worthwhile read and Lychack's descriptions of what it feels like to be alone, abandoned, confused, struggling and to be a kid caught in between two parents that don't know what the hell they are doing is spot on. I will add The Architect of Flowers to my bookshelves, I won't add The Wasp Eater to it.

  • Victoria
    2019-05-23 03:29

    What a strange and sad little book. I liked this novella, but didn't really love it. I am not quite sure why, though. Mostly because there just seemed like something was missing, or lacking, though I am not exactly sure what it was... The father's character was the focal point of the whole book but he seemed more like a shadow of a man than a real man. Perhaps it was this character flaw that made me feel like there was something lacking in the book... Still, it was a fascinating and engrossing book.

  • Weasel
    2019-04-28 03:22

    A must read if you wish to be bored. Or perhaps if trapped in earthquake rubble with it and a source of light. If you wish to learn something, pick up a biography or if you want to be entertained grab any of the zillion technothriller action mysteries.

  • Christine Laliberte
    2019-05-03 01:26

    It was a good read, but I found the lack of knowledge about the situation a little annoying. However, since he was trying to tell the story in the child's point of view, then maybe he did a great job, since children are good at 'sensing' things and not necessarily knowing the full details.

  • Cathryn
    2019-05-11 03:22

    A quick read.

  • Natalie Serber
    2019-04-28 08:13

    While I enjoyed the tone of this quiet book, I found I felt too removed from the characters. The ending however was pitch perfect.

  • Alexia
    2019-04-22 08:23

    to be fair, i think i missed something...i just did not get this book

  • Colleen
    2019-04-29 08:30

    Dark and often confusing, just like life for a child during an crisis in a marriage. Many adults feel children should not be told of such matters between adults. Those adults should read this book.

  • Katewood16
    2019-05-05 05:24

    While I think this book is well written, I think, bottom line, it's not my thing. Broken family, the mind of a ten-year old boy, it just just didn't grab me.