Saturday, December 24, 2011

Nightwoods - Charles Frazier

Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain, while an amazing story, was a little slow-moving for my taste.  So, I've been hesitant since to read any of his other novels.  But this one looked short, so I thought I'd check it out.  Then my friend Courtney told me she found it a bit slow, and I got scared again. But, I'm glad I read it.  The subject matter is difficult and reminiscent of one of my favorite novels (in a visceral - wow - now this is the power of literature - kind of favorite), Bastard Out of Carolina.  The main character, Luce, is on  her own in the mountains (sound familiar?), but has recently been joined by the non-speaking twins of her murdered sister.  As Luce adjusts to life with little ones to care for - in particular little ones who are not in an emotional space to give back in any loving kind of way, the story of her isolation unfolds.  There were chapters or pages I read where my only reaction was, "what the hell is the point of this?  Will this EVER end?" and there were others I read where my reaction was "what the hell is the point of this?  Who cares, this is some amazing storytelling!"  The overall narrative is tension-filled, and I feared a violent climax.  I wouldn't say I found the book "enjoyable" - the subject matter is too raw and brutal.  But this is a GOOD book.  The writing is rich, the storytelling is gripping, and the characters are real.  I'm a new believer in the power of Charles Frazier, and plan to go back and read his second novel, Thirteen Moons.

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