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Country Dark by Chris Offutt
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Country Dark (original 2018; edition 2018)

by Chris Offutt (Author)

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1219175,504 (3.88)8
A taut, compelling novel set in rural Kentucky from the Korean War to 1970. Tucker, a young veteran, returns from war to work for a bootlegger. He falls in love and starts a family, and while the Tuckers don't have much, they have the love of their home and each other. But when his family is threatened, Tucker is pushed into violence, which changes everything. The story of people living off the land and by their wits in a backwoods Kentucky world of shine-runners and laborers whose social codes are every bit as nuanced as the British aristocracy,… (more)
Member:MASpeech
Title:Country Dark
Authors:Chris Offutt (Author)
Info:Grove Press (2018), Edition: 1st Edition, 240 pages
Collections:To Print, Upper School Speech
Rating:
Tags:US Speech, FIC

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Country Dark by Chris Offutt (2018)

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
A southern noir gem. The writing is laconic, indelible, and beautiful. It is a story about devotion and honor in the hills and hollers of Kentucky that transcends law and religion. It displays unique blend of lyricism and southern grit. I think it would work well as a film. ( )
  Misprint | Aug 31, 2020 |
In the hills of Kentucky after the Korean War, Tucker, a bootleg runner is trying to do right by his family, even if he has to break the law. I felt compassion for him and his wife, Rhonda, and their children. Offutt’s ability to balance intense and lyrical descriptions of rural life kept me turning the pages, and hoping that things would somehow work out for Tucker’s family.

Thanks to Grove Press for an ARC. ( )
  Lisa_Francine | Aug 5, 2020 |
Superb. Set in Eastern Kentucky from the 1950s to the early 1970s, it humanizes without condescending or romanticizing. Tucker is a Korean war vet who comes back to his home town to settle down and make a life for himself. He hasn't even turned 18, and on the way home he meets and falls in love with Rhonda. They marry and have several children, and Tucker supports them by running moonshine for the local bootlegger (and buyer of politicians). It's a beyond hardscrabble life, especially since several of their children have disabilities. But Tucker and Rhonda love and respect each other and love their children unreservedly.

Eventually the risks of the job catch up with Tucker, who bears them with his characteristic stoicism and makes plans for his family's future. When the compensation he's been promised looks to be endangered, he takes action.

There is violence and sadness throughout this story, but it's never sensationalized or used to manipulate the reader. The writing is brilliant; I can see the comparisons to Raymond Carver because it is similarly restrained, but it feels warmer to me. ( )
  Sunita_p | May 18, 2019 |
COUNTRY DARK

"The novel is set in rural Kentucky from the Korean War to 1970." (summary)

Tucker is a young veteran returning to the Kentucky hills from the Korean war.
He marries, starts a family and works for a bootlegger.
There are touching, protective scenes as he cares for his disabled son, daughters and wife.
When his family is threatened, we see more than one situation where love and dignity become entangled with violence.

I was excited to do this book in audio and I must say that hearing the dialogue spoken by the characters added so much dimension to my experience of Tucker's story.

4.5 definitely recommended ( )
  pennsylady | Aug 25, 2018 |
A decorated war hero, Tucker is returning home to Kentucky. He doesn't think much of the medals he was awarded in the Korean War, he was only using the skills honed as a youth in the mountains. Living off the land during his journey home, catching rides when he could, he stumbles upon Rhoda, a 15-year-old mountain girl being molested by her uncle. After saving Rhoda, he purchases the uncle's car, and the two get married at the courthouse. The two want children but a family needs a working father. Luckily the car that he purchased, has been refitted for running moonshine. Thus begins his lucrative career working for Beanpole.

The novel's title is appropriate since this novel is an excellent example of Southern gothic and noir-fiction. The taciturn protagonist reminds me of several of the characters played by a younger Clint Eastwood in that he is an amalgam of good and evil. He is very protective of his family taking only the minimal means necessary to ensure their safety. His actions are motivated by a personal sense of justice; not revenge. The author was very effective in bringing alive mountain life in 1950-60s Kentucky. ( )
  John_Warner | Jul 25, 2018 |
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A taut, compelling novel set in rural Kentucky from the Korean War to 1970. Tucker, a young veteran, returns from war to work for a bootlegger. He falls in love and starts a family, and while the Tuckers don't have much, they have the love of their home and each other. But when his family is threatened, Tucker is pushed into violence, which changes everything. The story of people living off the land and by their wits in a backwoods Kentucky world of shine-runners and laborers whose social codes are every bit as nuanced as the British aristocracy,

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