Saturday, January 31, 2015



Just as in his novel Winter's Bone, in this book author Daniel Woodrell moves beyond usual "modern noir," and into something closer to rural tragedy set in his world of the Missouri Ozark mountains. This Oedipal tale is about the relationship between young "Shug" Akins and his mother Glenda. Glenda is attractive and apparently irresistible to the opposite sex, which is a sad situation because she makes terrible decisions when it comes to men.
Granny said Mom could make 'Hello, there" sound so sinful you'd run off and wash your ears after hearing it, then probably come back to hear it again.
Shug's dead beat father, Red, (and there's a good chance he might not even be his real father) is still in the picture. He's emotionally and physically abusive to both Glenda and Shug, and forces Shug to steal prescription drugs for him. But things get even more complicated when a pleasant, smooth-talking cook in a sexy green Thunderbird rolls into town, and has eyes for Glenda.

On the surface, The Death of Sweet Mister seems like a short, simple read, but it's anything but that. Woodrell is less concerned with plot and more concerned with evoking his literary world of the Ozark community and his complex characters that live there. But the plot was even less of propulsive than the murder mystery in Winter's Bone, and at the start, the POV of Shug Avery was somehow difficult for me to engage with. But about halfway through the novel it stuck and by the sad and troubling conclusion, I enjoyed it. But I wouldn't recommend it to everyone though. There are some disturbing themes in the story and if you're looking for a fast-paced plot, you probably won't find it here. Usually I would be one of those people, but for some reason, so far Woodrell's writing fascinates me.
The bottle where I hid my lifelong screams busted wide. The screams flew loose where nobody could hear.

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