My hands are shaking as I type this. After closing the book I had to take a deep breath and steady my nerves. Is it too early for a nice comforting shot of bourbon?
I am giving this book five stars but I will also try to warn folks who are sensitive to violence, true violence of psychic, physical and sexual nature. The story needs to be told but not all need to hear it in it’s entirety. There were times I didn’t want to go on, because page after page, just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, that we’d finally been shown the absolute worst that humans can bestow upon another, it did get worse. Horrifically, heart-breakingly worse. Soul shattering. What kept me at it were the two characters at it’s core, Ruby and Ephram and Ms. Bonds achingly beautiful prose.
“Under the blackberry sky, the impartial moon shone on night phlox, evening primrose and lone houses with slanted steps. It also cast upon wolf cubs caught in traps, hidden bones long buried and burning crosses– with the same indifferent grace.”
The story of Ruby, Ephram and the denizens of Liberty township comes alive, brutally and beautifully with every page. There were some characters that I grew to love, not the least amongst them was the wild beauty of the piney woods of East Texas. And there were characters that I hated so much I saw red. I felt that Dybou’s evil, insinuating shadow and I was afraid.
I can say that I was glad to read this book, however hard it was at times to bear witness to the evil that men (and women) do. I don’t think I’ll be able to endure it again, though.