Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Book Review: The Death of Sweet Mister

The Death of Sweet Mister by Daniel Woodrell

Daniel Woodrell's Winter's Bone was one of the best books I've ever read, so I naturally picked up several of his other novels. The Death of Sweet Mister is populated with the same sort of misfits. It feels wrong to call them hillbillies, but the events of the novel fulfill some of our worst ideas of the dwellers of the backwoods and hollows of the Ozarks. Like Winter's Bone, the central character of this novel is also a juvenile, but with none of the same spunk and determination.

There is much violence and general brutality here, a world bleak and desperate, but rendered with precision. Woodrell's writing talent is certainly on display here, though the book is hardly as haunting as Winter's Bone. And though I enjoyed it, the novel has elements that are disturbing and hard to get past.

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