on 29 September 2013
With the reading of this book, I have now completed Daniel Woodrell's backlist of novels. This is my least favourite of his books. Even though Woodrell has written several different genres and no two of his books ever follow a template, I found the narrator of Give Us a Kiss different than his other books and just couldn't get as comfortable with him. It's not that I didn't like him, and I don't have to like characters to like a book, but Doyle Redmond is a homegrown Ozarks inhabitant who had the intellect to leave and get educated but not enough intellect to stay away and not get involved in the Ozark underworld of drugs, sex and murder. He acted low-born and talked higher-born than seemed natural and that's what rubbed me wrong with him. This is how Doyle is supposed to come across though, so it works, but Woodrell's other books, especially the Ozark novels have much better narrators. Another thing that is different about this book from the others is that it has a happy ending ... well, comparatively speaking, and I actually found that and the actual ending disappointing. There is a good story in here; it is a violent, dark, gritty, country noir crime; with a bit of explicit sex not found in Woodrell's other work either. Other than Doyle, I liked all the other characters, even those I wouldn't want to know in real life. Smoke, Big Annie and Niagra are all remarkable persons populating Woodrell's Ozarks. This particular edition also includes a wonderful essay by the author entitled "How Much of the Ozarks Is In Me?" that ends the novel on a perfect note.