Sally Ewan's Reviews > Nightwoods

Nightwoods by Charles Frazier
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's review
Jun 18, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction

This is the story of family beset by tragedy and violence. The main character is a young woman who retreats from the world after an assault, only to take on the responsibility of caring for her dead sister's two children who are traumatized by having witnessed their mother's murder. (Sounds cheerful, doesn't it?!) Add in the woman's messed-up father who is a local law officer and the crazy brother-in-law set on silencing the children, and you've got a great bedtime story. Just kidding! I love the way Charles Frazier writes. He leads you down an ever-narrowing path of desperation with such lovely turns of phrase that you delight in the words even as your heart seizes up with apprehension. Just one example of a nice line: "Not even stars to offer light, and his legs crunched together by the mummy shape of the bag till he feels constricted like a deceased elder in his coffin."

I don't mean to make this book sound like a thriller. I suppose you could sort of see it in that light, but only in a lyrical way, a la Joyce Carol Oates. Mostly, it is a story of hope and of evil receiving its due payment.
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