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4.0 out of 5 stars53
4.0 out of 5 stars
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on 14 December 2014
Wonderfully atmospheric, great sense of place and character. Loved it.
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on 5 July 2014
After a traumatic attack made her walk away from her job and left her shunned by many in the town, Luce is now a custodian of the Lodge. She lives a reclusive life with one friend, the equally reclusive Maddie. Into her life come her niece and nephew, mute siblings who witnessed the brutal murder of their mother by her husband Bud. Bud was not convicted of the murder and is now looking for the children and Luce as he thinks they have the money that his ex-wife took from him.

This is short book which is rich in description but, as typifies Frazier's writing, the plot is hinted at in short vignettes as the landscape and emotion are more important than pace. I find this aspect of the writing frustrating and struggled with the first two-thirds of the book. However the writing does burrow into one's mind and I ended up really enjoying the novel.
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on 27 June 2014
Read this book as it was chosen by a book club. Very good descriptions but I got a bit muddled with the story at times. Not my type of book.
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on 7 August 2013
So descriptive I thought the story would never begin and when it did we get traumatised twins, substance addled police and a lonely hearts duo. Plus the slowest chase in literature.
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on 19 May 2013
The front cover of the book includes a quote from "The Times", simply saying "Wonderfully atmospheric" and I'd say there is no better way to describe this, Charles Frazier's third novel.

Luce is living in a faded and decaying former holiday lodge, deep in the mountains and lakes of rural southern United States, clearly trying to escape from the rest of the World. Her reclusive existence is abruptly ended when she becomes guardian to two mute and feral children, and so begins a captivating and mysterious story of misfits, crime, family ties and love, set in a spectacular, hostile and harsh environment - an image of America very different from the one with which we are normally presented.

Frazier's skill is in his use of language to create an ongoing feeling of tension and growing foreboding, despite the beauty of the surroundings, his way of gradually drip-feeding in details of Luce and the other characters' former lives to give the context for their current situation and his ability to create in Luce a character whose hard shell belies a vulnerability that captures the reader's sympathy straight away.

The novel is undeniably a slow burner and would not appeal to everybody but having initially read the first paragraph and put the book aside in favour of others, on my next attempt I was drawn in straight away.
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on 13 April 2013
Not exactly a page turner. For me, there were times when i felt that i had read a chapter that really did not need to be there. It didnt add much to the overall novel.

The premise is quite good, and at points the story is intriguing. The writing is good, not brilliant, but good. However, the plot and writing seems to wander about, and for me, not much happens
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on 31 March 2013
The plot is a reheated version of the movie "Night of the Hunter" directed years ago by Charles Laughton. It's been given the trademark "Frazier prose" makeover although I can't envisage Robert Mitchum as "Bud" Johnson. A nice if unexceptional read but not half as good as "Cold Mountain".
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VINE VOICEon 31 January 2013
There's a good argument that Hollywood can taint an author as much as elevate. So having reached the heady heights of cinematic glory from novel one, how does Charles Frazier now read some years later with novel three? And how much will he be judged by newcomers on the back of the monumental to the masses success of Cold Mountain or indeed by the committed Frazier fans? Seems a manageable stone either way.

For this newcomer at least, Frazier is actually much better, so much better, than Jude Law would have you believe...

Nightwoods is all classic American literature. There's as much poetry in the sparsest prose as the unforgiving landscape has natural beauty in the backdrop of the Appalachians in the 1950's. Factor in the broken American dream, the family and society disenfranchisement, the small town lives and loves; big empty hearts in big empty places, both beating strong and steady.

For those looking for a story, it's all hung on a lonely spinster inheriting damaged twins in a lodge she neither owns nor loves, haunted by a past and present nasty hicksville brother in law bent on justifying his life by violence and jealousy. Probably story seekers may still just get bored and irritable by the lack of pace and gun ho. Fair enough but Nightwoods is not a roller coaster ride and it's not intended to be; for the patient, sit back and watch its fire slowly crackle and burn down to see sparks enough.

Nightwoods is a deeply thoughtful novel but for all its subtle crackle won't quite set the world alight. What it does is confirm Charles Frazier as one of the finer chroniclers of American life and, hopefully, a fan base that will follow the ride.

Certainly this one won't be for everyone so don't be swayed by reviewers who found it too dull. It's far from it and in a small but important way, a vigorously lazy vibrant cold night life affirmer.
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on 6 January 2013
I got this fo my partner who really enjoyed it: the author is good at drawing you into the times about which he writes. Item delivered in good time and condition.
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on 26 November 2012
Great depth of understanding with a lot more on the page than just words.His usual grasp of what makes people tick.
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