03 January 2011

Winter's Bone, by Daniel Woodrell

This is a very unusual book. It is short, only 193 pages, reads faster than hell (less than 8 hours), uses colloquial language, and is absolutely excellent.

Set in the Missouri Ozarks of today, Winter's Bone tells the story of Ree Dolly and her family, who live in the midst of raw, horrible, bone-crushing, bloody monsters from a time in the mythological past, but who at the same time are just kinfolk, who "cook crank," and live by a strict and awful code far more strict and harsh than any mere law enforced by the civilization that, we are scarcely aware, exists all around them.

Ree's dilemma is that her father has jumped bail, and if he is not found in time to make a court appearance, the bondsman will take all she and her family (her mother, drugged into oblivion on psychotropic medication, and her two little brothers, Harold and Sonny) has, which is their house and the land it is on. This home has been in her mother's family for at least a century, and is the treasure of this family. They have nothing else.

This is truly fine writing.

No comments: