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Winter's Bone Paperback – July 11, 2007
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"The lineage from Faulkner to Woodrell
runs as deep and true as an Ozark stream in
this book. . .his most profound and haunting
yet."―Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Sometimes brutal, sometimes mordantly funny, sometimes surprisingly sweet . . .I just didn't want WINTER'S BONE to
end."―St. Louis Post Dispatch
"Woodrell's Old Testament prose and blunt vision have a chilly timelessness that suggests this novel will speak to readers as long as there are readers."―New York Times Book Review
"Daniel Woodrell has produced another stunner, a bleak, beautifully told story about the inescapable bonds of land and blood--fiction at its finest."―Kansas City Star
"Heroines this inspiring don't come along often. When they do, they deserve our attention."―People
"The plot of WINTER'S BONE is uncomplicated, yet it packs a kind of biblical, Old West, Cormac McCarthy wallop--hard and deep."―Cleveland Plain Dealer
"A courageous, audacious, resourceful 16-year-old girl destined to enter the pantheon of literature's heroines."―Donald Harrington, Atlanta Journal Constitution
About the Author
Daniel Woodrell's five most recent novels were selected as New York Times Notable Books of the Year, and Tomato Red won the PEN West Award for the Novel in 1999. He lives in the Ozarks near the Arkansas line with his wife, Katie Estill.
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Dad is supposed to show for his hearing or the family loses their home among other things. So Ree sets out to locate him. It isn't a hunt, just Ree going around house to house in the valley. And she hits some roadblocks. People are tight lipped and protective of something. On more than one occasion Ree is offered drugs and physically assulted (too much for a child) over the simplest things. I guess the drugs show character? There are too many closed mouths and doors for the family sticks together mantra that the book keeps portraying. But people come around eventually and Ree and her siblings get the answers they need but not necessarily want and life goes on. The book isn't very suspenseful but the plot is good. It was a simple read that I finished in one sitting.
Daniel Woodrell, like many of my favorite authors, is often compared to Faulkner. But Faulkner is not one of my favorites. Go figure. In this novel, Woodrell tells a haunting tale of sixteen-year-old Ree Dolly, a girl of the Missouri Ozarks (the area between St. Louis and Memphis). Ree's father, like many members of her family and the mountain community, cooks meth. And he is out on bail and missing.
Ree's mother is catatonic, leaving Ree in charge of her two young brothers. The sheriff tells her that the family may lose their home and their land because her father has pledged it as part of the bail bond that has now been violated. To save their home, Ree has to find her father and convince him to return or prove that he is dead. She believes him dead, because Dollys never run. And Dollys never give up their property.
Ree's quest pulls back the thin, secretive veneer from life in this mountain community, exposing the carcass like a freshly-skinned deer (sorry, ladies). Woodrell's exceptional use of language allows us to see the harsh, brutal, and bloody reality of the strange code of secrecy and distorted sense of honor that binds her family and her neighbors together against the outside world. Ree's quest is cold, violent, dark and dangerous, but her courage is uplifting. I won't spoil the climax other than to say it is riveting.
She's 16, a high school dropout in a tiny Ozark village. Caring for her mentally ill mother and two young brothers is her full-time responsibility -- because her father, a local crank chef, has disappeared. "Start looking for me when you see my face," he told her in walnut-falling time. "Till then, don't even wonder." And what is falling now is snow...
Does it sound like it couldn't be worse? Wrong. A sheriff's car -- "the law", in local parlance -- drives to the Dolly house at the end of a miserable rut road. "Your father has a court date," Deputy Sheriff Baskin tells Ree. "Next week. I've been looking for him, but I can't seem to run him to ground. And he'd better show up -- because he's put your house and your timber acres up for his bond. If he doesn't show, you'll lose the house."
"I'll find him," says Ree.
And -- in a world "outside square law", with a drug-based economy, where crime is commonplace and only betrayal of one's blood is unforgivable; in a world where a woman may be safe from harm by men, but can be legitimately beaten bloody by other women if she strays outside the line; in a world from which there are only three exits: the Army, prison or untimely death -- she does.
Daniel Woodrell knows that world and writes about it with a harsh, spare skill. The pictures he paints are white and red and gray, snow and blood and grinding poverty; yet they have a beauty of their own.
This is a book to be read in a rocking chair, under a soft blanket before a fire, with a dependable loved one in the house.
Most recent customer reviews
I was encouraged by Amazon to read this because I read Ron Rash. The only semblance is mountains.Read more