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Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell

Winter's Bone (original 2006; edition 2007)

by Daniel Woodrell

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1,480965,026 (4.02)152
Title:Winter's Bone
Authors:Daniel Woodrell
Info:Sceptre (2007), Paperback, 208 pages
Collections:Stockcheck, Your library, Favorites, 5 Star Books
Tags:Fiction, American, Family drama

Work details

Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell (2006)

  1. 40
    Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison (Jesse_wiedinmyer)
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    The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Questions of family loyalty trouble resourceful teen girls in these stark and menacing novels of hardscrabble life in the Ozark hills. Both fast-paced literary thrillers combine a strong sense of place with haunting characters and clear-eyed depictions of violence.… (more)
  3. 00
    The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollock (sparemethecensor)
    sparemethecensor: Though one is set in Appalachia and one in the Ozarks, both are dark, gritty, Southern noir novels that immerse readers fully in the depravity that comes along with desperate poverty in these regions of the country.
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    Redemption Falls by Joseph O'Connor (1Owlette)
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    Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier (1Owlette)

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» See also 152 mentions

English (94)  German (1)  French (1)  All languages (96)
Showing 1-5 of 94 (next | show all)
Saw the movie and might have read this, not sure. Listened to audio book in early 2015 ( )
  KathyGilbert | Jan 29, 2016 |
I learned that the movie was based on a book and I tracked down a copy. I liked the movie but I loved the book so much better.

The story was slightly different...two brothers instead of a little sister and a brother. But I was drawn into the vivid descriptions of the winter landscape and in-your-face moral code necessary to survive in this "Hatfield and McCoy" type environment...paraphrasing one of the characters....there's just two ways to get yourself kilt; snitching and stealing.

Wonderful book. Recommend highly if you liked the movie! ( )
  Itzey | Jan 23, 2016 |
this is a chilling and wondrous read. ( )
  Judy_Ryfinski | Jan 20, 2016 |
this is a chilling and wondrous read. ( )
  Judy_Ryfinski | Jan 20, 2016 |
I ’ve seen Daniel Woodrell’s writing variously categorised as country noir, hillbilly noir and – my personal favourite – hick lit but I’m not sure any of these labels give an accurate picture of the sensibility a new reader might expect to encounter. For me it is – at least by the example of WINTER’S BONE – closer to something like misery lit without the redemptive ending.

That probably sounds harsher than I mean it to. Or maybe I do mean to be that harsh. I’m honestly not sure.

My difficulties stem in part from the book’s almost universal acclaim which set such high expectations. As I read I could not help but look for, and fail to find, the brilliant book I had been promised.

That’s not to say the book is bad.

Its heroine – a 16 year old called Ree Dolly – is a heartbreaker. The oldest child of a crank chef she has not a single one of the modern world’s advantages despite living in the globe’s ninth richest country. The book’s central dramatic premise is that Ree’s father has gone on the run after putting up the family’s meagre property as collateral for his bail. His failure to appear for his next court date will result in the loss of the house that Ree lives in with her drug-addled mother and two younger brothers whose care she is entirely responsible for. Ree’s desperation to save the home is only partly in pursuit of a roof over the family’s heads. She also believes that if she fails she will never be able to join the Army: the only escape available to someone in her circumstances. So she looks for her father in spite of the physical barriers (just getting around the remote and inhospitable location) and very real dangers posed by breaching the unwritten but well understood rules of engagement within the extended family community in which she lives.

The writing is evocative and for the most part gloriously sparse. This description of Ree setting off on the first step of her quest says in five sentences what other writers would take five pages to convey

She broke her own trail through the snow and booted the miles from her path. The morning sky was grey and crouching, the wind had snap and drew water to her eyes. She wore a green hooded sweatshirt and Mamaw’s black coat. Ree nearly always wore a dress or skirt, but with combat boots, and the skirt this day was a bluish plaid. Her knees kicked forward of the plaid when she threw her long legs forward and stomped the snow.

Woodrell also makes extensive use of a dialect that is at times as foreign to me as Swedish but somehow manages to be comprehensible as a whole while helping provide the sense of otherness the book drips with.

For this is not a world I know. The Missouri depicted here is physically and emotionally harsh. These Ozark mountains are not those of tourism brochures or cultural reclamation festivals and the people who populate the area have little room in their lives for the human courtesies I have taken for granted my entire life. Their choices aren’t so much limited as non existent – make drugs, take drugs or both. Insanity – Ree’s mother’s path – seems a sensible option. I have no trouble believing that the lives depicted here are entirely credible but I have no real understanding of how a person living anything vaguely similar in the real world would find the motivation to wake up each day.

And perhaps I should be happy with this. A great character, good writing and a glimpse into a world I can be profoundly grateful to never have encountered.

But, ornery creature that I am, it feels like there is something missing. It’s hard to put into words but the best I can come up with is that there is no change of tone in this novel. It starts out bleak and ends that way, with never any hint that things will be another way. I’ve always thought that what makes truly great noir is its offering of a glimmer of hope that things might not turn out badly this one time. Kind of like buying a lotto ticket: your head knows you’ve an infinitesimally small chance of winning but your imagination is temporarily sparked by the fleeting possibilities. WINTER’S BONE doesn’t offer that.

My conclusion then? That the novel is less than the sum of its parts. When considered independently each element of WINTER’S BONE is close to brilliant but as a whole it left me wanting something…just a little something…more.
  bsquaredinoz | Jan 8, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Daniel Woodrellprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Galvin, EmmaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To cover the houses and the stones with green -- so the sky would make sense -- you have to push down black roots into the dark --- Cesare Pavese
To Ellen Levine, stalwart again, and Katie
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Ree Dolly stood at break of day on her cold front steps and smelled coming flurries and saw meat.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316066419, Paperback)

Ree Dolly's father has skipped bail on charges that he ran a crystal meth lab, and the Dollys will lose their house if he doesn't show up for his next court date. With two young brothers depending on her, 16-year-old Ree knows she has to bring her father back, dead or alive. Living in the harsh poverty of the Ozarks, Ree learns quickly that asking questions of the rough Dolly clan can be a fatal mistake. But, as an unsettling revelation lurks, Ree discovers unforeseen depths in herself and in a family network that protects its own at any cost.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:30 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Reaching her sixteenth year in the harsh Ozarks while caring for her poverty-stricken family, Ree Dolly learns that they will lose their house unless her bail-skipping father can be found and made to appear at an upcoming court date.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

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