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Nightwoods

3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  7,268 ratings  ·  1,406 reviews
Before the children, Luce was content with the reimbursements of the rich Appalachian landscape, choosing to live apart from the small community around her. But the coming of the children changes everything, cracking open her solitary life in difficult, hopeful, dangerous ways.
Paperback, 272 pages
Published June 12th 2012 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published 2011)
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Michael
I was disappointed over how little this one sticks in my mind a month after reading it. That I felt no urge to say something about it at its completion is another personal testament.

The art of Frazier’s language is alive, as is his wonderful skills at conveying a sense of place, here Appalachian North Carolina. Unlike Cold Mountain and Thirteen Moons, the setting is contemporary. But through a bit of magic on the part of the omniscient narrator, there is a sense of ancient, mythic forces at pla...more
Jo Anne B
"No denying the ugliness. But swear you're done and move forward."

"Lola's only nugget of wisdom to her little daughters was Never cry, never, ever."

This wasn't Cold Mountain but there was surely a lot of coldness to the characters in these mountains. What I liked the most about the book was the author's literary prose and detailed writing that made you feel like you were there in the woods and mountains with these characters feeling what they were going through. Such beautiful writing makes for...more
Cynthia
Beauty Queen to Recluse: A Journey

Luce is a loner. She’s a caretaker at a North Carolina bed and breakfast that’s been long out of business and whose owner, Stubblefield, has just died. Out of the blue Luce‘s sister Lily is murdered and Luce inherits her damaged twin niece and nephew. Everything about her life changes when the kids arrive. There’s no more time for reading books and listening to the radio through the night. Frazier’s pacing is phenomenal; he slowly drops shocking plot points that...more
Lou
The Nightwoods from the title you could misinterpret this to being a paranormal or horror story, it's not it's about a Human struggle. This author of Cold Mountain knows all about settings in stories he himself grew up in the mountains of North Carolina. He places you in a beautiful wilderness in this tale with some modest characters that are happy to struggle along and get to make big changes in their lives.
The authors sentences are laden with some intricate writing and describes away beautiful...more
Connie
Because Luce and Lily's parents are self-indulgent and not concerned with the welfare of the girls, the children have to fend for themselves. When the truant officer comes to the house to find out why Luce has not been attending school, he asks her if she wants to be like "them," indicating her parents. Because that is the last thing she wants, she sets an alarm clock in her head so she can get Lily and herself to school each day. Everyone thought that Luce would be the one to leave the town and...more
Mike
Luce and Lily were sisters, Luce the wary one and Lily the open one, who always saw the good in anyone. But Lily made a bad mistake when she fell head over heels for smooth talking Bud. Charles Frazier paints an understated portrait of domestic violence, child abuse and sexual assault.

Set in the North Carolina hills during the 1960s, Frazier takes a sharp turn from his two previous novels. The language is rich as you would expect. However, Frazier shows he has the ability to write a terse, smoot...more
Robin
Soon receiving the book for free through Goodreads First Reads!! Yay!

It always takes a while to read a Charles Frazier novel. The writing style is very dense and filled with lines I didn't want to forget, though I will of course. This is not a page-turner or a thrill ride. It is more of an arduous adventure. In the end, the adventure was worthwile. Frazier's writing style is excellent.
Judy
Oct 20, 2011 Judy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
I love Charles Frazier. Cold Mountain, the novel, was amazing. Forget the movie. Thirteen Moons was under appreciated because Cold Mountain was so huge. He just gets to something in his characters that no one else does in quite the same way. Possibly it is a Southern thing but also it is just purely great writing from a guy who has the soul of a poet. Both of the previous novels were historical (Civil War and Trail of Tears) but I don't think it was from history that he derived his power as a wr...more
Linda
I wanted to love this book because I still consider Frazier's "Cold Mountain" to be one of my top reads. But I became bogged down fairly quickly with this book because of sentence fragments and choppy sentences and also because of the lack of consistency with dialogues. I don't mind no quotes for dialogues but this book had dashes sometimes and some dialogues just had "he said" and "she said" inbeded in paragraphs. There are several points of view in this book and lots of changing scenery which...more
Jennifer
This gothic mountain tale about a pair of feral twins and the backwoods aunt who takes them under her wing after their mother is murdered by her redneck lover is a much leaner, meaner read than the author's previous works, Cold Mountain and Thirteen Moons. Each character is fully realized (including a scene-stealing elderly pony named Sally) and the rural, 1960's North Carolina setting is beautifully evoked. The creepy black pond in the middle of nowhere that features prominently in the climax i...more
Josh
3.5 stars that drug on in the end a bit too long to rate it a 4. Really enjoyed parts of this novel - it's plenty entertaining, features great writing and imagery. In fairness I believe others will no doubt rate up the the chain a little higher.

The character interaction seemed a bit too rehearsed to be 100% spot on. Perhaps a 4 in almost every way but to distinguish it from other similar works I'll rate it at 3. Strangely, I might be more apt to "recommend" this one to others looking to wade in...more
Hansen Wendlandt
Frazier’s first three novels focus, respectively, on lost love and found friendship, wisdom and the ills of progress over a long life, and an unsympathetic world that “does not punish or reward but cleanses all bones equally.” (259) Despite, however, these different eras, plots and situations, there are some hints and themes that echo through his writing: pioneer morality, the power of time, the inevitability of loss, the resiliency of nature, quick glimpses of spirituality… What is unique about...more
Jon
I have to confess I gave up on this one after about 100 pages. Unlike most readers, I was not particularly impressed by Cold Mountain, but since this one has gotten such rave reviews and is billed as a suspense novel, I decided to give it a try. I lost interest in the cliched characters fairly quickly, and there was little evidence of suspense. Apparently Bud would eventually show up and menace the children and Luce, but I really didn't care. The narrative voice bothered me--I couldn't tell to w...more
Kay
I loved this book! The words, fresh, startling, concrete, kept me hungry to keep reading; lovely sentences, rhythms--I just want to hug the whole language of it really tight. I want to page through and read words and sentences and descriptions again and again--the language never stopped being luscious. The slow, quiet Southern mountain tone of the whole prose was in sharp contrast to the mean, horrid, scary, nasty plot, and this contrast worked beautifully. Never a gasp or a cheap thrill. The pa...more
Dayna Ingram
I think I am too much of a feminist to enjoy this book.

I really don't know how many stars to give this thing. It's not that it's poorly written, it's just that it is horribly one-note. The characters are archetypes (the Hero, the Damsel-in-Distress, the Strange Children, the Villian, the Absentee Parents) who each have one very distinct motivator or event in their past that makes them who they are. There's no COMPLEXITY to these people, and that makes them boring.

Furthermore, I HATE HATE HATE t...more
Pam
Nightwoods by Charles Frazier 5/5 stars
I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

I really, really liked this book.

I won't recount the story here, you can read it numerous places. Frazier's pace was almost ... almost ... too slow for me. It took me awhile to care much about Luce, but it then took him awhile to reveal her in detail. She's a loner ... maybe even a recluse ... who left town in disgrace to be the caretaker of a delapidated and closed resort in the mountains of Tenne...more
Winnie
This was just an okay book. I didn’t think it had much of a story. The characters were pretty much one dimensional and the story was simple and shallow. The characters seemed undefined and were not well developed; their motivations seemed limp or non-existent. None of the characters were people I cared about or would want to know.
This author simply failed to bring this story to its full potential. Thematically, Nightwoods has much to do with the damage that parents can do to their children. Lil...more
Tony
Plot-driven, so one can hurry through to the end. Having gotten away with a cinematic ending in Cold Mountain, Frazier made this entire slim volume made-for-TV. The characters are ready-made, from central casting, so there's no need to explain why they are the way they are. The dialogue has moments but no great scenes like Inman and the Goat Woman from CM.

Frazier has become of a type, along with Richard Russo: readable if predictable stories, a workshop feel. If a gun is introduced in the first...more
Kasa Cotugno
Following Charles Frazier's stunning debut with Cold Mountain, anxious readers waited 10 years for his next book, hoping to regain the majesty and flow of that iconic award winner. Thirteen Moons, his followup, did not get critical or popular accalim, and almost six years has passed before the release of this much anticipated Nightwoods, which fulfills the promise of Frazier as a writer of beautiful, sensuous fiction.

In other reviews I have noticed that Southern writers evince a care of craft w...more
Michael
This story takes place in the Appalachian countryside in North Carolina, it details the picture of the struggle for life.

Luce lives by herself in an old lodge. She's totally self-reliant and has been living in the building which was a summer retreat by a man made lake. When the owner died, she took it upon herself to act as caretaker.

She inherits her murdered sister's two chilren, feeling that if she didn't care for them, they'd be split up and placed into adoption. This seems to be part of the...more
Ariel
I picked this up on a whim at the library. I was intrigued by it's stellar review on Entertainment Weekly and I remember enjoying Cold Mountain.

This novel takes place in 1960's Applachia. These people are poor, as in sucking pig spine poor. I draw the line at eating meat that's unidentifiable. The whole tone of the novel is run down, desperate.

Luce is a woman who has checked out of the world. A violent incident sends her from cheerleader to town recluse overnight. Intruding into Luce's insulated...more
Tom Nevins
Talk about atmospheric, I could feel the weather and the tension. Frazier's lyrical style lulls the reader, setting them up for the gut punch of the action. Great characters, well most of them, and a sociopath that Thomas Harris would admire. This guy can write and Nightwoods is a hell of a story. In stores 9/27, or write to me before that date!
Jane
While I frequently find more modern literature about dysfunctional families well, too dysfunctional, I enjoyed every quirky character in this book, Frazier's beautiful prose, and the journey of really not having a clue of where the story was headed. A great read on so many levels.
Vanessa
Cold Mountain is one of my favorite novels, but I was bitterly disappointed in Thirteen Moons. Nightwoods falls somewhere in the middle. It is, at base, a classic thriller, with chapters alternately focusing on our heroine (and those characters who have relationships with her) and her sister's murderer. The plot is well-constructed, and I definitely felt the tension as the stories intertwined. But somehow I never really felt an empathetic connection with the main characters, particularly Luce's...more
Jim
With “Cold Mountain” and “13 Moons” etched in my memory, I started “Nightwoods” by Charles Frazier with great expectations. As I finished it, all I could say was: “I’m glad this one is done and behind me.”

“Nightwoods” is much like the 2010 movie “Winter Bones,” which my wife and I watched as I took a break from the closing pages of “Nightwoods.” Slow moving, frustrating, meandering with seemingly little destination in mind. No, one is in no way based on the other.

“Nightwoods” takes place in most...more
TheBookofJules
Feb 26, 2013 TheBookofJules rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who love atmospheric reads.
I think this is a book that will resonate strongly with some and barely be worth the time of others. For me, it was perfectly okay. I never found myself particularly invested in the characters and I found the pacing to be much too slow to my liking, but I do understand that the pacing was setting up the atmosphere. The atmosphere in this book is perfect. I mean, perfect. I don't see how Frazier could have made that aspect of the novel any better.

He uses fragments and bits and pieces of sounds an...more
Red Ferry
"Nightwoods" by Charles Frazier


Author Charles Frazier seems unable to make a literary misstep. In "Nightwoods" he spins another country yarn of North Carolina mountain life. Luce is a young woman living in a long abandoned mountain lodge as it's caretaker. Her quiet life is suddenly interrupted by the arrival of her murdered sister's two children, damaged and mute. Luce is not equipped to handle sudden 'motherhood', especially given the wild children's predilection to setting fires and killing c...more
Tara
4.5 stars. This story does not have the originality that Cold Mountain did, but the writing is so much better. Frazier has honed his prose down to the very basic elements, sometimes just speaking in nouns or adjectives. But they are perfectly chosen. I did not give it 5 stars because the plot is somewhat formulaic, and he teases you with the formula and tries to take a small step away from it at the end, but the step is too small.

However, the core story of a young woman in the sixties who is the...more
Stephen Hull
Here's the review I sent yo my book group when I couldn't attend...

I find it interesting to compare Nightwoods with Winter's Bone. Both are stories about young single women looking after two children in the rural southern US and dealing with, mmm, stressful situations. Both show some sort of resolve/character/grit and manage to reach the end of their respective books with situations which, if not improved tremendously, are at least ones that have some hope in them. In both books the landscape be...more
Kerry Hennigan
Luce lives as a semi-recluse looking after a falling-down lodge on the shore of a lake in the mountains of North Carolina - until her dead sister's mute kids are entrusted to her care by the state. Unknown to Luce or the authorities, having been found not guilty of the murder of their mother, their father Bud is looking for them - the only witnesses to what really happened the day their mother died.

The narration, told in the present tense, is at times tough and gritty, and at others has a touchi...more
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Charles Frazier is an award-winning author of American historical fiction. His literary corpus, to date, is comprised of three New York Times best selling novels: Nightwoods (2011), Thirteen Moons (2006), and Cold Mountain (1997) - winner of the National Book Award for Fiction.


Librarian Note: There are multiple authors in the goodreads database with this name. more info here.
More about Charles Frazier...
Cold Mountain Thirteen Moons Cold Mountain: The Journey from Book to Film Adventuring in the Andes Cold Mountain: A Screenplay

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“Ask her what she craved, and she'd get a little frantic about things like books, the woods, music. Plants and the seasons. Also freedom. Not being bought and sold by some idiot employer, not having the moments of her days valued in fractions of a dollar by somebody other than herself.” 49 likes
“Life can get fucked up fast when you try to be a pleaser. Because people won't ever be pleased, not even if you drop them ass-first into paradise. They like bitching too much.” 25 likes
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