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daniel woodrell, under the bright lights

“A sort of fond sadness meandered through Shade. It was partly because he loved his brother and knew him perfectly, partly because he did not know him at all. The unlighted chamber where one’s true and most secret longings and convictions are housed has a door that is impressively sealed. The more you turn the knob and peek through the keyhole, the more you have to guess, and the less you know.”
 
Absolutely a piece that’s carried by style, as it’s rooted in a place and a geography; this is a book that doesn’t pull you along to find out what happens, because mostly you already know and the plot’s just something to hang everything else on. Instead, it’s a book you wind up reading slower to keep up with the nuances and stay within the voice. Or, really, voices: Woodrell is great at dialect, at rhythms of spoken language, and in his narration he drops into a southern gothic semiformality that’s just as distinctive. Both of these voices are cadenced, rhythmic; the gulf between narration and speech, high and low, is huge and striking.

“There had been a time, not too long ago, when Francois has been energetic in his defense of the stepped-on multitudes, passionate in his pleas for those mendicants before the bar, those old neighborhood losers whose humanity he would not deny. He’d had a threat in his stance toward the system that had not always been kind to those close to him, and a mind quick to become belligerent in his quest of justice for the smallfry.”

reprinted in The Bayou Trilogy, Mulholland Books 04.28.11



May 11, 2011, 10:21am   Comments