Synopses & Reviews
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.
"Woodrell flirts with but doesn't succumb to cliche in his eighth novel, a luminescent portrait of the poor and desperate South that drafts 16-year-old Ree Dolly, blessed with 'abrupt green eyes,' as its unlikely heroine. Ree, too young to escape the Ozarks by joining the army, cares for her two younger brothers and mentally ill mother after her methamphetamine-cooking father, Jessup, disappears. Recently arrested on drug charges, Jessup bonded out of jail by using the family home as collateral, but with a court date set in one week's time and Jessup nowhere to be found, Ree has to find him dead or alive or the house will be repossessed. At its best, the novel captures the near-religious criminal mania pervasive in rural communities steeped in drug culture. Woodrell's prose, lyrical as often as dialogic, creates an unwieldy but alluring narrative that allows him to draw moments of unexpected tenderness from predictable scripts: from Ree's fearsome, criminal uncle Teardrop, Ree discovers the unshakable strength of family loyalty; from her friend Gail and her woefully dependant siblings, Ree learns that a faith in kinship can blossom in the face of a bleak and flawed existence." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[B]oth razor sharp and grimly gorgeous." Library Journal
"Despite the questionable ending, some teens will be drawn into Ree's story. But the book is not for the young or the faint-of-heart; Ree is not a saint, and this gritty story requires maturity to appreciate." VOYA
"A compelling testament to how people survive in the worst of circumstances." School Library Journal
"[C]ompact, atmospheric and deeply felt....Woodrell's novels...tap a ferocious, ancient manner of storytelling, shrewdly combining a poet's vocabulary with the vivid, old-fashioned vernacular of the backwoods. They're forces of nature." Seattle Times
"[P]acks a kind of biblical, Old West, Cormac McCarthy wallop hard and deep....To call Woodrell...the Next Big Thing in literary crime fiction only can mean this: We are way behind. He is the current big thing. And not to be missed." Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Woodrell burrows ever deeper into the heart of Ozark darkness, weaving a tale both haunting in its simplicity and mythic in scope....<> most profound and haunting work yet." Los Angeles Times
"[Woodrell's] Old Testament prose and blunt vision have a chilly timelessness that suggests this novel will speak to readers as long as there are readers, and as long as violence is practiced more often than hope or language." David Bowman, The New York Times Book Review
"[A]nother stunner....Diehard fans of the author will not be disappointed with Winter's Bone. Those unacquainted with his work...are in for a unique reading experience that will doubtless send them scurrying off to find more of his novels." Kansas City Star
When Ree Dollys father skips bail, the 16-year-old knows if he doesn't show up, her family will lose their home. Her goal had been to leave her life of poverty and join the Army, but first she must find her father, teach her little brothers to fend for themselves, and escape a downward spiral of misery.
About the Author
Dan Woodrell is the author of five previous novels: Under the Bright Lights, Woe to Live On (to be filmed by director Ang Lee, adapted by James Shamus), Muscle for the Wing, The Ones You Do, and Give Us a Kiss a New York Times Notable Book for 1996. He lives in Missouri.