Thursday, November 8, 2012

Review: "Winter's Bone" by Daniel Woodrell

While not as disappointing as Tomato Red, Daniel Woodrell’s Winter’s Bone, the novel that made him sort of famous, is a far cry from the power of The Death of Sweet Mister, but is least interesting enough that it’s slim and quick 190 odd pages are just that. While I think on a sentence for sentence basis, Woodrell is one of the best I have seen, he seems to be lacking in a certain narrative drive that should create a sense of urgency in books, especially dealing with the genre of country noir. It is easy to get lost in his little nuggets of clever sentences and phrases, but the stories that these sentences built have a very weak foundation and are not as original as id like them to be. But do not underestimate the power of some of Woodrell’s more impressive turns of phrasing. They are worth at least half the book’s price. We meet Ree Dolly as her and her family are on their last leg as far as their financial woes go, which is not helped by her father, a known crank cook, has gone missing, and if he doesn’t show up for a scheduled court date, Ree’s family is out of a house. Ree, a determined strong willed female the likes of which I have rarely seen, goes off into the woods of the famed Ozarks to find him, only to be confronted by the power and violence that blood relations can bring. We meet a wide cast of characters, all with similar first names, but they seem to blend together and I bet you won’t remember specific ones after reading the book. A shocking act of violence will jar some readers to plow through the final fifty pages, but this book leaves little proof of Woodrell’s much touted abilities.
Rating: 4/5

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