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 — cliché 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 dependent siblings, Ree learns that a faith in kinship can blossom in the face of a bleak and flawed existence. (Aug.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"Woodrell's captivatingly resourceful protagonist both enchants and horrifies.... [Winter's Bone] exposes the tragedy of crystal meth in rural America in all its brutal ugliness in language that is both razor sharp and grimly gorgeous. Highly recommended." Library Journal
"In spare but evocative prose, Woodrell depicts a harsh world in which the responsibilities for survival ultimately give Ree meaning and direction.... A compelling testament to how people survive in the worst of circumstances." School Library Journal
"The truth both endangers Ree's life and sets her free, in a coiled-spring narrative whose precisely honed prose vibrates with arresting descriptive phrases...and unsparing doom-laden pronouncements.... And the unforgettable Ree is a heroine like no other." Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Daniel Woodrell lives in the Missouri Ozarks near the Arkansas state line. His five most recent novels were selected as New York Times Notable Books of the Year, and Tomato Red won the PEN West Award for the Novel. Two novels have been adapted as major motion pictures: Woe to Live On, filmed in 1999 by Ang Lee as Ride with the Devil, starring Tobey Maguire and Skeet Ulrich, and Winter's Bone, a 2010 film accepted to the U.S. Dramatic Competition category at Sundance.