A Fine Dark Line
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A Fine Dark Line

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  1,269 ratings  ·  113 reviews
During a sweltering East Texas summer, 13-year-old Stanley Mitchel Jr. begins a journey of awakening. His family runs the town#x2019;s drive-in movie theater,#x00a0;where Stanley spends his time helping out, reading ten-cent comics, playing with his dog Nub and generally living a boy#x2019;s life, circa 1958. When Stanley discovers a cache of old love-letters and starts to...more
ebook, 307 pages
Published July 28th 2011 by Gere Donovan Press (first published 2002)
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Lansdale is a great writer. He's so good that he can write in his sleep -- which may be the problem with A Fine Dark Line. Lansdale's ability in dealing with issues of race, sexuality, good and evil, is remarkable. You never feel like you're being preached to, which is probably a testimony to Lansdale's good common sense. However, in A Fine Dark Line, the ghosts invoked come from other novels. Anyone who has read To Kill a Mockingbird or Tom Sawyer, knows he or she has read earlier and greater e...more
I very much enjoy Lansdale's writing, and once again this story and the venues it takes place in all remind me of To Kill a Mockingbird. It's not a rip off of it by any means, just a lot of similarities. A very engrossing coming of age story. Loved it.
Coinvolgente nonostante l’impressione di ‘déjà vu’ o, meglio, la fondata sensazione di ritrovarsi su un terreno già percorso da altri illustri scrittori. In particolare, tornano in mente temi ed atmosfere più incisivamente visitati da Stephen King in “Stand by me” e da Harper Lee nell’indimenticabile “Il buio oltre la siepe”.
La ‘sottile linea scura’ rappresenta per il protagonista tredicenne il passaggio alla consapevolezza: del sesso, del dolore, del male, dell’odio razziale, della morte… inso...more
What is that you say?

A Joe R Lansdale little southern gothic tale/mystery, set in the 50s at a Drive In.

Love it? Yes I do.
Barks & Bites
This Lansdale novel, unlike the other Lansdale novels I’ve read, is told from the point of view of a thirteen year old boy named Stanley. It’s not filled with the off-the-rails cursing and crazy gore that I expect when reading a work from this guy but it still kept my attention. Set in a small town in Texas in 1958, it makes sense that Stanley’s “voice” is still quite innocent. I don’t think you could get away with that sort of innocence today, what with the internet and MTV and their marathon s...more
Romanzo di formazione di un preadolescente, ambientato in una tranquilla cittadina del Texas.
Sotto una placida sonnolenza covano ed agiscono menti malate, stupide o perfide. Altre perdono la loro innocenza ma non la voglia di vivere.
Segreti inconfessati e corruzione, l'apparente semplicità di vite ordinatamente delineate e di gerarchie sociali intoccate sono lo scenario in cui si muove una famiglia sana e, soprattutto, serena. Con adulti in grado di fare da sponda anche nelle peggiori situazioni...more
Maria Grazia
Lansdale è probabilmente il più geniale rimasticatore della letteratura americana, persin più geniale del Re, che pure in questo senso non scherza.
E infatti La sottile linea scura non è altro che una rimasticatura de Il buio oltre la siepe, più un bel po' di altre cosette, compreso Via col Vento.
Eppure, nonostante l'orecchio addestrato riesca a riconoscere le fonti, quello che ne viene fuori è un romanzo originale e bellissimo, con i personaggi che emergono vivi e veri, la paura che fa sudare e...more
Where has East Texas writer Lansdale been hiding? The man is brilliant! (Yeah, ok...I loved the movie version of Bubba-Ho-Tep but it never dawned on me to find the writer.)

This little book has it all. The mystery works, and I mean really works. The characters are so real and 3-dimensional, you'd recognize them walking down the street. The plot moves at exactly the right pace--not too fast, and defintely not too slow. And, although it has enough plot to be considered plot-driven, the character ar...more
Pamela Pickering
4.25 stars! A nice suprise! I really enjoyed this novel of Lansdale's (much more than The Bottoms. I found it to be a very entertaining and nostalgic coming of age/mystery story told in the folksy style of a 13 year old in the 1950s. The 1950s seem to be a great time of which to write due to it's innocence and it's conflicting darkness (in this case, racism, child abuse, spouse abuse) and this one has it all...it sounds dark, but it made me laugh on several occassions. I was sold on this story e...more
Un classico romanzo di formazione, rinforzato dalla scrittura, straordinaria, di Lansdale di cui avevo letto, finora, soltanto la serie di Hap&Leo.
Meno esplosivo ripetto a quei libri, questo libro è ambientato nell'America degli anni '50, che non è esattamente quella di Happy days.
Tensioni razziali, violenze famigliari, fanatismo religioso, disagio sociale fanno da sfondo all'estate di un ragazzino che, pagina dopo pagina, acquista consapevolezza sul mondo degli adulti (con i suoi lati posit...more
I was just a little kid in 1958, and remember the world as a bigger and less demanding place than it is now. Bigger because I was small and vulnerable and knew nothing about it, and less demanding because I was a kid. Being a child, however, does not guarantee one a carefree childhood full of happy memories. But I do think America was in many ways a simpler place in the fifties, if perilous for some. And this is the beauty of A Fine Dark Line, Joe R. Lansdale's engaging story about thirteen-year...more
Chadwick Saxelid
The year is 1958, the place is Dewmont, Texas, and it is summer. Thirteen year old Stanley Mitchell's life changes forever when he trips over and discovers a box buried in the ground near the ruins of a once stately home. Inside the box is a collection of anonymous love letters. Curious to find out who wrote the letters and why they had been hidden, Stanley, thinking he might be able to return them to their rightful owner, begins a clumsy investigation into the history of the ruins. What he unco...more
Apr 13, 2008 Allen rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: dreamers and true believers.
Once again Joe R. Lansdale blows me away with the strength and breadth of his capabilities. The man can write the purely absurd like Flaming London, short stories that will curdle your blood with their violence, and stories like the Bottoms and this book, A Fine Dark Line. I don't really know how to describe the feelings that are brought up by this book. While I was reading it I kept thinking of the great works of Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Dandelion Wine, and their ability to ev...more
Astrid Virili
Qualcuno potrà anche dire che questa storia l'ha già sentita: la storia di un ragazzino che cresce e scopre di non essere più un bambino, la storia di una piccola città di provincia nel profondo sud degli Stati Uniti, la storia delle tensioni razziali tra bianchi e neri, la storia di una morte misteriosa lungo i binari del treno. Quelle storie le ho lette anche io, per esempio "Il buio oltre la siepe" oppure "Stand by me - ricordo di un'estate". Eppure la voce di Lansdale affascina in maniera ir...more
Jacquelynn Fritz
This is a cuming of age and mystery set in Dewmont, Texas, in 1958. The Mitchell family has bought the drive-in and moved to Dewmont, where Stanley, the son, finds a box with old letters and pages of a journal. Stanley learns Margaret is who wrote the letters and finds that she was murdered. On the same night that Margaret is murdered, Jewel Ellen is murdered by being tied to her bed, during a house fire. Stanley. his sister Callie, Buster, the projectionist, and his friend Chester, help Stanley...more
A Fine Fark Line is the novel that is most like Lansdale's other classic, The Bottoms. There is a lot of similarities: It s a coming-of-age story wrapped around a mystery. It takes place in East Texas but in the 50s, not in the 30s as with The Bottoms. There is also many of Lansdale's favorite topics including race relations and family violence. Which one you like best will probably hinge on which one you read first. Yet A Fine Dark Line is a riveting literary thriller no matter how you slice it...more
Jann Barber
It is 1959 in Dewmont, Texas. Stanley Mitchell, 13, learns many life lessons during this particular summer. He finds a box of letters that lead him to discover the deaths of two young women -- one perished in a house fire while the other was decapitated near the train tracks.

Stanley's parents own the local drive-in, and Stanley develops a friendship of sorts with black, elderly Buster Lighthouse Smith who runs the projector at the drive-in. Buster helps Stanley investigate the deaths and along...more
Another wonderful evocation of small town American life from Mr Lansdale. I always marvel at this ability to paint a landscape and time so vividly.

The story conveys the pleasue of being part of a close family, and contrasts it with the nature of other people's less fortunate lives.

The book deals with allsorts of issues: race, alcohol abuse, wife beating etc etc but does it all in a subtle and thoughtful way.

The story isn't one of his strongest, but there are lots of twists and turns along the wa...more
Lansdale scala velocemente la mia hit parade degli autori di fiducia...la capacità che ha di ricreare l'ambiente e l'atmosfera di un'epoca è superlativo! Mi sono ritrovata sbalzata in pieno nel 1958, in una famiglia anticonformista e molto moderna, per il periodo, tra misteri, assassini e turbe adolescenziali, per seguire il protagonista nel delicato passaggio tra infanzia e mondo adulto, passaggio che è poi il vero fulcro del romanzo, più della cornice thriller. Emozionante, divertente e sicura...more
Kleiner Held ganz GROß

Bisher hatte ich noch nichts von Lansdale gelesen und ich muss sagen, ich bin wirklich richtig begeistert und beeindruckt, über diesen spannenden, ehrlichen, fesselnden und berührenden Krimi.
Dieses wird sicher nicht mein letztes Buch von Lansdale sein.
Er schafft es ohne große Schnörkel, den Leser in den Bann zu ziehen. Die Charaktere wirken authentisch und es wird nicht nur an der Oberfläche gekratzt. Der tiefste menschliche Makel wird hier bildhaft geschildert.
Ein mutiger,...more
Dick Hill narrates this story masterfully. I love a good story well told.

This story is set in Dewmont, Texas during the summer of 1958. It takes thirteen year old Stanley Mitchell out of innocence through the discovery of some love letters that lead to a bit of sleuthing between he and the projector operator at his family's drive in theater. The POV is Stanley when he is in his fifties. It was a fun story and I might just listen to it again before I bring it back to the library.
Sommer 1958, ein kleiner Ort in Texas. Stanley, gerade 13 Jahre alt, muss erfahren dass der Weihnachtsmann nicht existiert - und es somit wohl auch keinen Osterhasen gibt. So etwas nennt man wohl eine behütete Kindheit ;-) Doch damit ist es in diesem Sommer vorbei. Denn als er beim Spielen ein kleines Kästchen mit Briefen und Tagebucheintragungen findet und Nachforschungen darüber anstellt, kommt er auf die Spur eines Doppelmordes, der noch immer nicht aufgeklärt ist. Gemeinsam mit seiner Schwes...more
Good book I would have never read except for belonging to a reading group. Very violent in several parts but for the most part enjoyable. Crazy coming of age story.
I am not a book reviewer, but being from East Texas, it is just amazing to read about the area I was born and raised literally taken back in time. The cultural tension, the expressions that Lansdale uses are expressions I heard my grandparents use all the time, in short it is like visiting home.
That being said, the stories themselves keep me turning the pages. I am looking forward to picking up some more books by this author at the library.
Iain McNab
Very enjoyable, quick read, like most of Lansdale's books. He writes beautifully about being a kid in East Texas in 1958. Not quite as good as 'The Bottoms', which is terrific - a kind of modern day Huck Finn - but solidly entertaining with a great turn of phrase that has you at least smiling out loud. 'Left on' (do people still say that?) sexual and racial politics without being heavy-handed.
Excellent coming of age novel by Texas scribe Lansdale. I actually like this style of Lansdale's work more than the hyper violent Hap and Leonard style. This one packs an emotional punch, retains just a touch of Lansdale's signature violence and humor and wins big. Great book by a great writer.
Very enjoyable novel set in late 50's East Texas, told from 12 year old Stanley viewpoint. I enjoyed the story and found some aspects very well written. As this was my 1st book by this author I will certainly get hold of some of his other work.
Loren Toddy
A great story from the beginning to the end with a very bittersweet ending. It manages to capture the essence of youth and the real world without any glossy embellishments about the world. Loved it.
Matteo Pellegrini
Nell'afosa estate texana del 1958, il tredicenne Stanley Mitchell lavora nel drive-in del padre, e mette il naso in un segreto che doveva rimanere celato. E la "perdita dell'innocenza" di Stanley, in quell'estate in cui il mondo per lui cambia per sempre, coincide con il miracolo di una resurrezione davvero magica. In perfetta naturalezza, Lansdale ricrea le voci, il sapore, la vita, di un tempo scomparso del tutto, come non fosse mai esistito. La "sottile linea scura", che segna per Stanley la...more
This book starts off slow, and wavers between a horror story and a mystery. But by the end, it captures your imagination, and takes you to a dark place in East Texas on the cusp of the 1960s.
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Joe R. Lansdale is the winner of the British Fantasy Award, the American Horror Award, the Edgar Award, and six Bram Stoker Awards. He lives in Nacogdoches, Texas.
More about Joe R. Lansdale...
The Bottoms Mucho Mojo (Hap Collins and Leonard Pine, #2) Savage Season (Hap Collins and Leonard Pine, #1) The Two-Bear Mambo (Hap Collins and Leonard Pine, #3) Edge of Dark Water

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