Donna's Reviews > Nightwoods

Nightwoods by Charles Frazier
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Jan 29, 12

bookshelves: sad-books
Read from January 27 to 29, 2012

I struggled over how to rate this book. How I felt about it was dependent upon what my expectations were. The language describing nature was beautiful, very poetic, in a non-flowery way, which was inspiring. But the passages describing the environment were also very long-winded and made me very conscious of the author's voice, which I do not care for when reading fiction. I want to get lost in the characters--meaning their thoughts and perceptions. And in Nightwoods, I kept thinking that this is Charles Frazier talking, not Luce or Stubblefield or Bud. Part of the problem was that there was so little dialogue. Words were doled out only as necessary. It seemed as if the author felt that what he had to say was more important than what his characters might say. Which is too bad, because I thought that the characters had potential, but never truly came to life as they should have. They were all very separate from one another, even when breathing the same air. And they were at the author's command, to do as he wished with them, their thoughts merely a part of his narrative.
It was a rather sad book in which the author does not try to make the reader like any of these people, though I did not dislike them either. And how it concluded, he left everything open-ended, though most readers would come to the same conclusions about Bud, and Stubblefield and Luce's relationship. As for the children, what lay in their future was anyone's guess.
I guess what I have been trying to say is this--if you want to read a book with beautiful descriptions and only half-realized characters that struggle to connect or stay apart from one another, then this is your book. If you like more page time exploring the characters, you may not be satisfied reading this story. It is a brief book, which works in its favor either way should you care to give it a try.
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