Ons for the anger have been forgotten except in the myths of origin as a lack of faithfulness to tradition The only real evidence of the past is the rubble left by previous generations building stones strewn about ruined hillsidesAnger in this culture has become virtually a genetic trait passed down as a legacy Without it the natives have nothing in common nothing to strive for The anger is ultimately directed not at others but toward themselves however You got to be ready to die every day then you got a chance They hate themselves Perhaps that s why the migrated in the first place The purpose of the drugs is not economic their function is self forgetting The rest of the world is relevant only because it threatens the expression of their self directed rageA symbolic microcosm of America in the age of TrumpPostscript 26Nov18 29Nov18 a little Ozark nostalgia My introduction to the fiction of Daniel Woodrell is Winter s Bone and what a strong introduction Published in 2006 it logs somewhere between a novella and short novel at only 45883 words but the remnants left behind conjure such a strong sense of environment and of a gritty female protagonist struggling to survive in that environment that I felt like I d walked a mile in her shoes in the snow trucking water pails both ways The literary ambitions of the novel are impossible to tamper down but rather than overwhelm the story or characters the prose brings them into the light with both menace and wonderSet in Missouri in the Rathlin Valley near the Arkansas state line the story introduces sixteen year old Ree Dolly as her father Jessup a gifted meth cook out on bond from his latest arrest leaves home never to return Ree assumes responsibility for what remains of the family a scrappy ten year old half brother named Sonny a sensitive eight year old brother named Harold and their mother Connie an able bodied invalid who s retreated into the world of her mind casually referred to as crazy by the two hundred or so Dollys Lockrums Boshells Tankerslys and Langans linked by blood or marriage and living in poverty within thirty miles of the valleyA sheriff s deputy named Baskin pays a visit to Ree delivering the boys from the spot where the school bus was halted by snow Talking to John Law can be hazardous to one s health in the valley but rather than ask Ree where her father has run off to the deputy brings news that Ree s daddy put their ancestral home on Mom s side the Bromont side as well as their timber acres up as collateral for his bond If Jessup Dolly fails to turn up for his court date next week the property will be sold by the county Ree maintains her composure and assures Baskin that she ll find her father She d start with Uncle Teardrop though Uncle Teardrop scared her He lived three miles down the creek but she walked on the railroad tracks Snow covered the tracks and made humps over the rails and the twin humps guided her She broke her own trail through the snow and booted the miles from her path The morning sky was gray 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 bluish plaid Her knees kicked free of the plaid when she threw her long legs forward and stomped the snowRee finds a sympathetic ear with her aunt Victoria her favorite of all Dolly women short of Mom but is told in no uncertain terms by her menacing uncle not to go looking for her father Uncle Teardrop has been a meth cook longer than his younger brother but lost his ear and melted the left side of his back in a chemical mishap Ignoring her uncle s warning Ree proposes going to Hawkfall Valley to see if the crew her father was working with know something but has her head yanked back by her uncle for emphasis He gives his niece fifty dollars and another warning for Ree to stay close to the willowsClimbing a ridge and crossing a meadow blanketed by snow Ree arrives at the home of her best friend Gail Lockrum who already has a four month old baby and a useless husband who d rather be with his girlfriend Ree recalls her father s girlfriend a kindy garden teacher in town and asks Gail if she can get the keys to her husband s truck to drive her there The answer is no Ree hitches a ride with the school bus driver and is dropped off in Hawkfall The way people aren t talking to Ree convinces her that her father has been killed and no one wants to talk to her about itRee is left with no alternative but to seek the help of Thump Milton a Milton family patriarch and a terrifying grizzled coot Ree waits in his yard for an hour before being turned out notified by his wife that he knows everywhere Ree has been today and why she s here and to leave Ree who s talked about leaving the willows to oin the army one day receives an offer from Sonny s the willows to The Southern Belles of Honeysuckle Way join the army one day receives an offer from Sonny s father to take the boy in with Uncle Teardrop taking Harold Seeing no future for either of her brothers by abandoning them Ree puts her life in Thump Milton s hands by returning to Hawkfall for another try at him Ree has to be carried out The women of Rathlin Valley began crossing the creek to view her even as she lay in the tub Sonya led Betsy and Caradoc Dolly s widow Permelia who owned the third house in the rank of three on the far bank into the bathroom and closed the door on the paled waiting boys with their stricken faces Ree lay with her good eye open a peep in water skimmed thinly with suds The women stood in a cluster looking down at the colored bruises on milk skin the lumped eye the broken mouth Their lips were tight and they shook their heads Permelia ancient but mobile witness to a hundred wounds said There s never no call to do a girl like thatWord for word Winter s Bone may be one of the finest novels that I ve read There s a harrowing precision to it Woodrell has such a command of this landscape and the family trees populating it that he could ve written a novel three or four times the length of this one I m glad he didn t There isn t an indulgence to be found here Instead of telling reader about what happened to characters or occurred between them in the past he focuses on what they re feeling now There s some trust there but the prose is also strong enough to fill in those spaces Then there s Ree Dolly who Woodrell seems to respect enough to make the star attraction of every page While frosty bits gathered in her hair and on her shoulders she raised the volume of those ocean sounds Ree needed often to inject herself with pleasant sounds stab those sounds past the constant screeching sualling hubbub regular life raised inside her spirit poke those soothing sounds past that racket and down deep where herittering soul paced on a stone slab on a gray room agitated and endlessly provoked but yearning to hear something that might bring a moment s rest The tapes had been given to Mom who already heard too many puzzling sounds and did not care to confront these but Ree tried them and felt something unknot She also favored The Sounds of Tranuil Streams The Sounds of Tropical Dawn and Alpine DuskThe novels I read I don t know if what marks a great character is an arc but consistency Ree is a rock that forces the stream around her to change course not the other way around She s kin to Mattie Ross of True Grit also a teenager in making up her mind and sticking to it The forces that Woodrell puts in Ree s path are formidable and her vulnerability is palpable The inner fortitude of the character and her extreme disorientation at changes taking place around her weren t entirely translated to screen and her extreme disorientation at changes taking place around her weren t entirely translated to screen Debra Granik adapting and directing a solid film version in 2010 that introduced audiences to Jennifer Lawrence and made her a star The novel is a better movie Houses above looked caught on the scraggly hillsides like crumbs in a beard and apt to fall as suddenly They d been there two or three lifetimes though and cascades of snow mushes of rain and huffing spring wind had tried to knock them loose and send them tumbling but never did There were narrow footpaths wending all about the slopes between the trees along the rock ledges from house to house and in better weather Ree thought Hawkfall looked sort of enchanted if a place could be enchanted but not too friendly No idea why I waited than ten years to read this powerful little bookIn Winter s Bone the setting is its own character This icy rural universe in the Ozarks comes to life on the page a living breathing violent thing where snow and cold are as big a danger as the criminals and meth cooks who populate this isolated place Wuthering Heights one of my favourite books of all time uses its
setting in a similar way Creating a place that feels separate from the rest of humanity and allowing the in a similar way Creating a place that feels separate from the rest of humanity and allowing the to exist and interact in this bubble wild and living by their own rules I personally find it extremely effectiveIn some ways it makes this Southern Gothic read like a fairy tale It truly feels like a separate universe there s no contemporary references no mention of US politics or pop Life in Rathlin Valley But the house is all they have and Ree's father would never forfeit it to the bond company unless something awful happened With two young brothers depending on her and a mother who's entered a kind of second childhood Ree knows she has to bring her father back dead or alive or else see her family turned out into the unforgiving coldSixteen year old Ree.
Daniel Woodrell È 4 Free readReading this book made me realize how FRIGGIN SHELTERED my life has been To me Winter s Bone reads ust like a nightmarish dystopia To millions of people apparently it s life Ree Dolly is incredibly tough and hardened by life much than you d expect from a sixteen year old girl She could be beat with a garden rake and never cry and had proved that twice before Mamaw saw an unsmiling angel pointing from the treetops at dusk and uit the bottle She would never cry where her tears might be seen and counted against her Unlike other lauded tough heroines in the recent literature her toughness is not in the leave me the hell alone variety of Lisbeth Salander or grumpy variety of Katniss Everdeen Ree is tough in the true survivor way She has no other choice she is the oldest child in the Ozarks bred n buttered family of a crystal meth cook father and a mentally unstable near catatonic mother with nobody else to care for her two younger brothers And now she is this close to losing the only thing they own their home to the bail bondsman unless Ree can somehow prove that her allegedly bail umping father is dead And that s not an easy thing to do when the world would rather have you shut up and not ask uestions Whatever are we to do about you baby girl Huh Kill me I guess That idea has been said already Got ny other ones Help me Ain t nobody said that idea yet have they But this short novel is not as much about Ree s uest to figure out what happened to her missing father she and the reader already have a good idea what happened to Jessup Dolly as it is about showing a fascinating albeit harrowing picture of the cruel backwards meth ruled world of the Ozarks Ree Dolly lives in a hostile harsh and unforgiving world that follows no law but its own She is surrounded by distant kin members that make up the majority of this rural mountain community But very soon she learns that blood ties do not always mean much that there uite a few matters about which her neighbors and relatives would much rather remain tight lipped And they will not hesitate to do whatever they feel is necessary to silence the uncomfortable uestions even if they come from a teenage girl Ree is kind smart independent competent spirited and resourceful However there is little future for her in this world besides meth cooking or marry as reuired by pregnancy Ree has been harboring a dream of The Confident Woman: How to Take Charge and Recharge Your Life joining the Army where you got to travel with a gun and they made everybody help keep things clean where she finally for the first time ever can have only her own concerns to tote But we all know as does Ree that she has too much heart to do so even if it means sacrificing her dreams for the sake of others who are her responsibilityFor men in Ree s world there seem to be two options meth and prison For women it s even less There is obedience loveless marriages violence and hard work The men came to mind as mostly idle between nights of running wild or time in the pen cooking moon and gathering around the spout with ears chewed fingers chopped arms shot away and no apologies grunted ever The women came to mind bigger closer with their lonely eyes and homely yellow teeth mouths clamped against smiles working in the hot fields from can to can t hands tattered rough as dry cobs lips cracked all winter a white dress for marrying a black dress for burying The only thing that being a woman earns for you is that you probably won t be beaten half dead and bloody by a man unless he is your man as Ree s little brother notes But it s little consolation given that the women Ree meets do not lack viciousness Misogyny is everywhere and is viewed as a normal part of life Nobody has much in this world and women least of all And if you are half dead from a beating and your uncle is about to raise mayhem you of course will be the one to blame Love and hate hold hands always so it made natural sense that they d get confused by upset married folk in the wee hours once in a while and a nosebleed or bruised breast might result But itust seemed proof that a great foulness was afoot in the world when a no strings roll in the hay with a stranger led to chipped teeth or cigarette burns on the wrist I found it scarily disturbing that Ree has naturally absorbed and internalized the laws of this bleak harsh place When we meet her she has an unusually strong moral compass and stubbornness to a boot but I wonder how long it s going to be before she cracks and submits to the ways of her surroundings After all she is also very lonely with her mother pretty much checked out of this world and her best friend trapped in a marriage with no love but a little baby and Ree misses her so very very much In Ree s heart there was room for Any evening spent with Gail was like one of the yearning stories from her sleep was happening awake Sharing the small simple parts of life with someone who stood tall in her feelings I hope she finds a way out I hope she finds a way to keep her awesome self intact I hope she succeeds in raising her brothers the way she wants to and not the way the society expects them to be She is definitely strong enough for that and I hope #HER SPINE IS INDEED MADE OF STEEL SHE WILL #spine is indeed made of steel She will
It To Survive Wonderful Bookto survive Wonderful book one of the best female characters I have seen in a while It s rather bleak but at the same time has undertones of hope rooted in Ree s stubborn refusal to give up 45 stars and feeling thankful that I live where I live because I sure as hell would NOT be able to survive in Ree Dolly s world I ain t leavin you boys Why do you think that We heard you once talkin bout the army and places we wouldn t be Are you wantin to leave us Naw I d get lost without the weight of you two on my back An Angry CountryIt s difficult to imagine what encouraged the first English settlers to re locate from their lives of drudgery in the Appalachian mountains to precisely the same lives of drudgery a thousand miles distant in the Ozark hills mountains being a mere conceit But move they did with their traditions of inbreeding moonshine and frontier violence The Ozarks strectching over the corners of four US States is a sort of American Kurdistan an artificially divided country The tourist brochures now describe the Ozarks as uaint But this is a description that is apt neither for the gauche theme parks that celebrate an idyllic but fictional pioneer past nor for the meth labs that have sprung up to replace the corn whiskey stills In Winter s Bone this is a lost country pointing simultaneously to the origins of the real America and a not unlikely futureWoodrell describes a world of neo liberal personal independence every man for himself and God help the sap who asks for help a real Jeffersonian agricultural democracy The only significance of family relationship is that one isn t shot on sight This is a world of hyper misogyny permanently incipient violence and drugs lots of drugs as the primary cottage industry Made in America has taken on a new significance The pioneer spirit is alive and well everyone else is a threat to personal independence the greatest threat is law which is a blatant attempt to constrain individual freedoms Male bonding is proportionate to the freuency of oint illegal ventures Contract in the form of adherence to the code is King penalties for non performance are steep Women of course only have the freedom to obey they exist is a parallel universe of silent fear maintaining what little social cohesion there is Men don t speak to them at all except to command they have no capacity to make contracts so they cajole and manipulate on the peripheryExcept for the iPods and the occasional paved road things haven t changed much in Woodrell s Ozarkian culture over the last two hundred years Same families same feuds same primitive responses to events usually violent The dialogue captures the mood as well as the s You ain t here for trouble are you Cause one of my nephews is Buster Leroy and didn t he shoot your daddy one time Yes m but that ain t got nothin to do with me They settled all that theirselves I think Shootin him likely settled it What is it you want The central social principle is staying off the grid in order to be left alone No one has a right to interrupt a man s nap or his cooking of crank If there s no paper trail you don t exist And if you don t exist it s really difficult to find you much less prosecute you So the details of births are undocumented and there are only a few male names prefaced by uniue nicknames known only in the community Thump Milton Cotton Milton Whoop Milton and Blond Milton all of the family Dolly to name only a few It s easier to lose oneself that way Identity after all is a sacred concept so must be protected against intrusion and pollution by foreignersCultural isolation has generated a uniue mystical tradition of origin that there existed a pure culture that has been lost in mysterious circumstances The original settlers pure culture that has been lost in mysterious circumstances The original settlers Appalachia the founding fathers have been transformed into prophetic messengers proclaiming a new religion The core of this religion is anger towards a hostile world The reas. The sheriff's deputy at the front door brings hard news to Ree Dolly Her 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 dateRee's father has disappeared before The Dolly clan has worked the shadowy side of the law for generations and arrests and attempts to avoid them are part of.
Her Inherited Power Systeminherited power system raising two little brothers and caring for her mad mother sacrificing her love and dignity without regret but with necessary resignation yet she does show emotion even though it is a luxury in her situation every scene she has with gail is understated but packs an emotional wallop yeah i know i hate that expression and i m not sure why i used it blame the heatthis is no morality tale it is ust a slice of a life that is happening unsung in america it s too short a
BOOK FOR ME TO SAY MUCH ABOUT WITHOUT ROONINGfor me to say much about without rooning for everyone but i loved it like crazy and will have to get all his other out of print books into my handscome to my blog In this crime thriller set in the Ozarks 16 year old Ree Dolly goes on a manhunt to locate her meth cooking father dead or alive She needs to find him because he put their house up for collateral with the bailbondsmen and he s due in court soon The Ozark atmosphere is convincing Woodrell s prose is spare and poetic and most important of all Ree Dolly is a great person to get to know I half hope and half dread that this may be the first in a series I want to hear of Ree but I enjoyed this book so much I don t want an inferior seuel to spoil my experience I grew up in a rural area with no shortage of poor rednecks so I thought I knew about country poverty but the people I knew with their decayed farm houses and trailers lived like Donald Trump compared to the backwoods clan of hill folk in this bookRee Dolly is a 16 year old girl who dropped out of high school to take care of her crazy mother and two younger brothers She lives in a remote part of the Ozarks where the only ob opportunities are in crystal meth production Ree plans on oining the army the second she s old enough and she s trying to prepare her brothers to take care of themselves once she leaves Ree s father Jessup hasn t been home in weeks but that s nothing new so she isn t concerned until a deputy shows up looking for him Ree is shocked to learn that Jessup is out on bond and used their house as collateral If he doesn t show for his court date in a few days Ree and her family will be homeless during a harsh winter Ree has no choice but to start asking her extended family if they know where her father is but this is dangerous because the closed mouth rednecks don t like people asking uestions even if they re kin The only one who even kinda helps her is her crazy Uncle Teardrop who got half his head melted in a meth lab fire and he s not exactly reliable Ree will soon figure out that her daddy got himself into big trouble with the family and looking for him will bring of the same to herDaniel Woodrell created a stark portrait of rural poverty where shooting suirrels for supper and chopping wood for heat are still routine chores Then he put a character you can t help but love in the middle of it Ree is smart and tough but even rarer in her world she s managed to hang on to a sense of dignity She has no illusions but she isn t cynical or cold either She s doing everything she can to protect her brothers and mother and she has a touching relationship with her best friend Gail who got pregnant and married a man she barely knowsShort but powerful this a terrific novel with a heroine you won t forget Gets so close to a fourth star it can smell the new paint ob In fact the plot is totally 5 star the motivations and machinations of all the characters make complete sense and are a real heartbreaker The main character 16 year old Ree Dolly is great In the movie which I came across all of 4 years ago she s played by none other than Jennifer Lawrence in her first big role and the movie and Jennifer both knocked me flat on my back then It s a must see If any book was filmed exactly right it s thisn What nearly defeats this chunk of hick lit is Daniel Woodrell s prose style He thinks he s the new improved perfect blend of Annie Proulx William Faulkner and maybe ole Cormac M and some others like that He s Mcproulkner or sumpin Here s what I mean The world seemed huddled and hushed and her crunching steps cracked loud as ax whacks Little Arthur was a little man mix of swagger and tongue with a trailing history of deeds that vouched for his posture A picnic. Who has grown up in the harsh poverty of the Ozarks learns uickly that asking uestions of the rough Dolly clan can be a fatal mistake She perseveres past obstacles of every kind and finally confronts the top figures in the family's hierarchyAlong the way to a shocking revelation Ree discovers unexpected depths in herself and in a family network that protects its own at any co.