Nightwoods by Charles Frazier
(Random House, 2011, 272 pages)
I needed an audiobook to listen to and I picked this up on a whim since I already knew of the author based on his previous novels, Cold Mountain and Thirteen Moons. The narrator was appropriate for the book’s setting which is 1960s North Carolina so they did a great job setting the tone right away.
Luce has lived in her small mountain town her whole life and serves as the caretaker for an inn that hasn’t seen visitors in quite a while. The proprietor recently died and now she’s basically living off the land and enjoying her solitude. Until she suddenly finds herself responsible for her sister’s twins, Dolores and Frank. Luce became their guardian after her sister was murdered by her boyfriend. Unfortunately the only witnesses to the murder were the children who now refuse to speak.
As Luce tries to figure out how to take care of two mute young children the story jumps and we find out that her sister’s murderer, Bud, was actually set free. Now he wants to find Luce and see if she has some money he believes her sister stole from him. The novel changes gears from focusing on Luce and the children to focusing more on Bud and trying to figure out what he’ll do to try and get the “justice” he believes he deserves.
I appreciated Frazier’s language but I wasn’t drawn in to this story. I don’t think the characters were fleshed out enough and there were elements that felt unfinished. If you’re a Frazier fan, this is his most recent title so you might want to pick it up. I’m glad I was able to branch out in my audiobook rotation, but I’m very happy that Rob Lowe’s Love Life is now playing in my car 😉