- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Mulholland Books; Reprint edition (October 14, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0316188441
- ISBN-13: 978-0316188449
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 143 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #249,007 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Thicket Paperback – October 14, 2014
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*Starred Review* The Bard of East Texas is back, this time with the turn-of-the-twentieth-century coming-of-age tale of 16-year-old Jack Parker and his 14-year-old sister, Lula. Still shocked by the sudden deaths of their parents from smallpox, they see their grandfather murdered by outlaws, who then abduct Lula. The same outlaws have killed the sheriff Jack hopes will rescue Lula, and Jack must turn to bounty hunters Eustace Cox and Shorty. Eustace is a black man who carries a giant shotgun; his constant companion is a 600-pound feral hog. Shorty is a dwarf with an attitude who was taught to shoot by Annie Oakley. Their bond is the discrimination they face, and they are willing to chase the outlaws into the primordial and lawless deep woods of East Texas’ Big Thicket. Lansdale’s premise seems borrowed in part from Charles Portis’ True Grit. But anyone who knows Lansdale knows he will put his own spin on the material. He has been writing brilliantly about East Texas for three decades (in both historical fiction and his contemporary series starring Hap Collins and Leonard Pine), but never has the region appeared stranger or more violent than it does here. The oil boom has begun, and Jack, a naive and pious farm boy, is introduced to boomtowns, brothels, lynchings, and all manner of new things. Memorable characters, a vivid sense of place, and an impressive body count make The Thicket another Lansdale treasure. --Thomas Gaughan --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
" Hellish and hilarious . . . It's classic Lansdale, his own self peppered throughout by much piney backwoods philosophizing on everything from religion to whoring, [with] the author's long-ago trademarked heaping helping of wry, often delightfully vulgar humanism. The Thicket is a keeper and then some." --Austin Chronicle
"This latest work reads like a dark version of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and feels like a Coen brothers movie. It's the perfect mix of light and dark, with plenty of humor mixed in." --Houston Chronicle
"Lansdale excels at giving his fans what they want...Many die, but what's really dying here, Lansdale says, is a romanticized way of life." --Dallas Morning News
"The Bard of East Texas is back. . . . He has been writing brilliantly about East Texas for three decades, but never has the region appeared stranger or more violent than it does here. . . . Memorable characters, a vivid sense of place, and an impressive body count make The Thicket another Lansdale treasure." --Booklist (starred)
"Lansdale offers up a coming-of-age Western adventure as captivating as the best of Larry McMurtry and written in a style reminiscent of Mark Twain. With intriguing, sometimes bumbling characters and storytelling laced with bravado, good humor, action, and heart...this title cannot help but captivate readers." --Library Journal (starred review)
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Lansdale has a huge talent in bringing his many unusual characters to life and never more so than in this tale. Jack Parker, the main protagonist of the book, is a young man in body but much older than his years in spirit. Naive in many ways, he still knows what needs to be done to rescue younger sister, Lula, from the outlaws that have kidnapped her.
He recruits Eustace, a gravedigging half-breed, his giant man-eating hog named appropriately Hog, and dwarf bounty hunter Shorty to help him rescue Lula. Sounds like the beginning of a joke, doesn't it?
Well, Lansdale does use humor in this wild ride of a story but there is plenty of serious story here too.
Taking place at the beginning of the 20th century, this rough and tumble Western combines humor, pathos, blood and guts, sex, and in-depth characterization into a tale that could have been a tragedy but manages to be a triumph of the underdogs.
As always, when I finish a Lansdale book, I felt uplifted just for reading it.
But Jack is tougher than one notices at first glimpse and is dedicated to rescuing his sister from the cutthroat outlaws. He enlists a posse straight out of a nightmare: there is Eustace, a black gravedigger, Shorty, a self educated midget bounty hunter, and Jimmie Sue, a disenchanted prostitute who sees Jack as a way to escape her mundane life. Toss in Eustace's 600 pound feral hog and you have one of literature's most astonishing posses.
"The Thicket" was a thrilling page-turner for this reader. As usual, Joe Lansdale paints vivid pictures of a wild partially settled portion of East Texas. His characters are fully fleshed and certainly interesting and credible. The action scenes can get very bloody and violent quickly and yet violence is low on the significance of the story. It is the interactions of the main characters coupled with Jack coming-of-age during a journey to exact revenge that keeps the reader turning the pages. Shorty is a fascinating character and his interactions with Eustace and Jack quickly grow on the reader as he/she can almost see and touch these characters. The climactic confrontation between the possee and the bad guys hiding out in the thicket of East Texas is one that will alternately bring a smile to the reader's face, a turning of his/her stomach, and some sense of satisfaction. All in all, a fun easy read that has all the early signs of a future Hollywood production.
If you can take all of that and add a bazaar western backdrop you got "The Thicket".
The first two books I read I thought, "Oh come on, get real" and then I started to enjoy the character study of someone who is way way over the top. Now I have bought every one of his books available. They are fun fun fun.
In true Lansdale fashion we are taken into the land of East Texas and the Sabine River,and this time we join up with Jack and Lula, a brother and sister recently orphaned by small pox. Their grandfather has decided it would be best for everyone to leave town, and this begins the story. The sad trio get no further than the river before the story takes unusual turns. No spoilers here. Read the book!
Joe Lansdale has woven a complex story of a boy searching for his sister, optimistic his life can be simple and good again. This tale does not disappoint. Enjoy!
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It's the turn of the 20th century and Jack Parker's life is about to take a turn for the worse.Read more