JANE’S BOEKENTIPS

NIGHTWOODS by Charles Frazier

Charles Frazier is a master storyteller and what is impressive about him, is that he uses so few words to say so much. He has only written two previous novels: Cold Mountain and Thirteen Moons. There was much anticipation for his third book and it certainly does not disappoint.

It is the late 1950’s in the hills of North Carolina. It is a pretty desolate area, with one small town and people living all over the region. Luce lives in an old abandoned lodge as a caretaker. She lives simply and off the land. She has left the town and its people to find peace and solitude. But her sister, who left many years ago, has been murdered by her husband and her children are brought to Luce. These twins, obviously traumatized by their mother’s death, will not speak. They refuse to have anything to do with Luce.

The murderer, Bud, has gotten off from the murder charges and comes to the hills. He is a cold blooded killer and he wants money. Like a cowboy coming into a western town, there comes the hero: Stubblefield. He remembers Luce from many years ago and wants to begin a relationship, which does not interest Luce at all…or so she says.

These are people who are hurt and afraid, and they don’t even know how to reach each other. But Bud is the darkness in this story and he is someone who can make us all afraid.

The characters are so well developed and realistic. Frazier’s description of the natural world is perfect. He is a spare writer and the action just moves beautifully. Even though this is about the “rough” world, this is an elegant novel.

While reading the last chapters of this book, I don’t think I took a breath. It is a powerful story that is so satisfying and also entertaining.

Bonus book:  I also just finished Sue Grafton’s V is for Vengeance. Grafton is like a pair of old slippers, so nice to come home to.

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Comments

  • Aledys Ver  On April 11, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    I have the book but I haven’t got round to reading it yet. I liked his previous two books so I have high expectations for this one and it is good to know that it got the thumbs up from you, Jane!

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