Sunday, March 18, 2012

Nightwoods by Charles Frazier [Review]

4 out of 5 Robots!

Nightwoods by Charles Frazier
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Release: September 27, 2011
Hardcover: 272 Pages
Publisher: Random House
My Copy: Personal Copy
Reviewer: Shannon
Buy the Book: Amazon

Shannon's Thoughts:
Nightwoods takes place in rural North Carolina in the early 1960s.  Luce is a solitary young woman who becomes the guardian of her sister's young twin children after her sister is brutally murdered by her husband, Bud.  Bud is inexplicably found not guilty of the murder and goes in search of the children.  Luce will do anything she can to keep the children safe.

The author has a great way with words.  The words are parse and each sentence is crafted for maximum impact. There are no extraneous words here. The story unfolds languidly as the author is in no rush to reach the end.  This makes it sound like the book is boring, but it isn't that way at all.  I felt it fell more on old storytelling tradition, where the journey is just as important as the climax.

The characters are very complex. Each  has a long history and is suffering from their own pasts.  The children in particular are very interesting.  They were very traumatized by their stepfather's abuse and mother's murder.  They show up at Luce's place mute, disconnected and almost feral, with a penchant for starting fires.  Luce is also a great character.  She is fiercely independent, having to rely on herself from a young age.  She prefers to keep to herself and live a solitary life.  It isn't until the children arrive that she begins to open up her life to them and to others.

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