This well-told tale of southern noir invites you to pull up a chair and listenShow, don’t tell, is a mantra repeated by tutors of creative writing courses the world over. As advice for amateurs it is sound, and helps avoid character profiling, unactivated scenes, and broken narrative frames. But for every prescriptive idea about the craft of fiction, there’s at least one writer who makes a virtue of the contrary. Daniel Woodrell has made a name as a master of prose with personality – a densely descriptive, gamey form of storytelling, one might say traditional storytelling – of late rather an unfashionable mode. Narrators such as the hard-edged, lyric overseer in Winter’s Bone, the author’s best-known novel, emerge from their location as qualified representatives; they see and understand history, topography and social legacy. When such narrators tell you deer carcasses need to hang decaying for three days and three nights to “sweeten that meat to the bone”, you believe them. Not only that, the invocation of these muscular, expert voices, with their idiomatic tongues, has an enthralling effect, both exhilarating and terrifying. You don’t want to sit on their knees, necessarily, but you do want to pull up a chair …read more

Via: The Guardian | Books