Charles Frazier puts his remarkable gifts in the service of a lean, taut narrative while losing none of the transcendent prose, virtuosic storytelling, and insight into human nature that have made him one of the most beloved and celebrated authors in the world. Read more...
- Publisher: Books on Tape
- Date: Sept 2011
From the book
LUCE'S NEW STRANGER CHILDREN were small and beautiful and violent. She learned early that it wasn't smart to leave them unattended in the yard with the chickens. Later she'd find feathers, a scaled yellow foot with its toes clenched. Neither child displayed language at all, but the girl glared murderous expressions at her if she dared ask where the rest of the rooster went.
The children loved fire above all elements of creation. A heap of dry combustibles delighted them beyond reason. Luce began hiding the kitchen matches, except the few she kept in the hip pocket of her jeans for lighting the stove. Within two days, the children learned how to make their own fire from tinder and a green stick bowed with a shoelace. Tiny cavemen on Benzedrine couldn't have made fire faster. Then they set the back corner of the Lodge alight, and Luce had to run back and forth from the spring with sloshing tin buckets to put it out.
She switched them both equally with a thin willow twig until their legs were striped pink, and it became clear that they would draw whatever pain came to them down deep inside and refuse to cry. At which point Luce swore to herself she would never strike them again. She went to the kitchen and began making a guilty peach pie.
LUCE WAS NOT MUCH MATERNAL. The State put the children on her. If she had not agreed to take them, they would have been separated and adopted out like puppies. By the time they were grown, they wouldn't even remember each other.
Though now that it was probably too late to go back, maybe that would have been a good thing. Separate them and dilute whatever weirdness they shared and ignited between them. Yet more proof, as if you needed it, that the world would be a better place if every-damn-body didn't feel some deep need to reproduce. But God in his infinite wisdom had apparently thought it was an entertaining idea for us to always be wanting to get up in one another.
Also, the children were here, and what was Luce to do? You try your best to love the world despite obvious flaws in design and execution. And you take care of whatever needy things present themselves to you during your passage through it. Otherwise you're worthless.
Same way with the Lodge. Luce didn't own it. She was the caretaker, sort of. Some would call her a squatter now that the old man was dead. But nobody else seemed interested in keeping it from growing over with kudzu until it became nothing but a green mound.
Back at the edge of the previous century, the Lodge had been a cool summer retreat for rich people escaping the lowland steam of August. Some railroad millionaire passing through the highland valley in his own railcar had a vision, or possibly a whim, to build an earthen dam, back the river up, fill the upper end of the valley with water right to the edge of the village. Then, on the far side, build a log lodge of his own design, something along the lines of the Old Faithful Inn, though smaller and more exclusive. He must have been a better railroad executive than architect, because what he built was a raw outsized rectangle, a huge log cabin with a covered porch looking down a sweep of lawn to the lake and across the water to the town. Evidently, rich people were satisfied by simpler things in the yesteryears.
Now the millionaires and the railroad were gone. But the lake remained, a weird color-shifting horizontal plane set in an otherwise convoluted vertical landscape of blue and green mountains. The Lodge persisted as well, a strange, decaying place to live in alone, though. The main floor was taken up by the common rooms, a voluminous lobby with its massive stone fireplace and handsome,...
"Nightwoods is no typical thriller....its dazzling sentences are so meticulously constructed that you find yourself rereading them, trying to unpack their magic...the unhurried, poetic suspense is both difficult to bear and IMPOSSIBLE TO SHAKE." - Entertainment Weekly
"FANTASTIC ... an Appalachian Gothic with a low-level fever that runs alternately warm and chilling." - The Washington Post
"No writer today crafts more exquisite sentences than Charles Frazier." - USA Today
"ASTUTE AND COMPASSIONATE . . .a virtuoso construction . . . with wickedly wry dialogue reminiscent of the best of Charles Portis, Larry Brown, and Cormac McCarthy." - The Boston Globe
"HIS BEST BOOK TO DATE. Frazier's exquisitely efficient style is matched by some finely tuned suspense." - The Times (London)
"Frazier has taken a fast-paced genre and subverted it at every turn, offering a closer look at the nature of good and evil and how those forces ebb and flow over time." - Atlanta Journal Constitution
"...[A] taut narrative of love and suspense, told against a gritty background of bootlegging and violence. The characters are rich and unforgettable, and the prose almost lyrical. This is Charles Frazier at his best. ...Just mention a new novel by the Cold Mountain author, and a line will start forming." - Booklist
"...[T]hink Thunder Road meets Night of the Hunter meets old murder ballads. This is a suspenseful noir nightmare, complete with bootleggers and switchblades." - The Daily Beast
"The story makes the book more than worthwhile, and the writing is as good as anything Frazier has created so far. ...[G]ripping story and engaging characters." - Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star
"[E]ngages your deep interest.... The book's ending is masterful, gratifying suspense-seekers as well as readers who like things working on many levels." - Asheville Citizen-Times
"The characters are expertly molded from the very land they inhabit, calling attention to the shallowness of the grave in which our more violent past is buried." - BookPage
"Natural-born storytellers come along only rarely. Charles Frazier joins the ranks of that elite cadre on the first page of his astonishing debut." - Newsweek
"Prose filled with grace notes and trenchant asides . . . a Whitmanesque foray into America: into its hugeness, its freshness, its scope and its soul . . . such a memorable book." - The New York Times Book Review
"A rare and extraordinary book . . . heart-stopping . . . spellbinding." - San Francisco Chronicle
"A boisterous, confident novel that draws from the epic tradition: It tips its hat to Don Quixote as well as Twain and Melville, and it boldly sets out to capture a broad swatch of America's story in the mid-nineteenth century." - The Boston Globe
"Magical . . . fascinating and moving . . . You will find much to admire and savor in Thirteen Moons." - USA Today