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Nightwoods - Pioneers Press


Charles Frazier

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The National Book Award–winning author of Cold Mountain and Thirteen Moons returns with this dazzling suspense novel set in small-town North Carolina in the early 1960s. The lean narrative follows Luce, a young woman who inherits her murdered sister's troubled twins, and she is a memorable heroine. Luce had been content with a simple life in the Appalachian landscape, secluded even from the small community around her. But the coming of the children changes everything, cracking open her solitary heart and also leaving her vulnerable to the same violence that took her sister.


"In anyone else's hands, this might turn out to be a gripping but ultimately forgettable thriller. Frazier, however, is a writer whose spare prose paradoxically oozes atmosphere—you can almost smell the verdant pine trees and hear the crack of twigs underfoot. The history of the place—Cherokee Indians turfed out by Spaniards and then American settlers—wafts through, adding a richness and depth. Whether of landscapes, customs or people, Frazier's perception is acute: 'The day the children came was high summer, the sky thick with humidity and the surface of the lake flat and iron blue. On the far side, mountains layered above the town, hazing upward in shades of olive until they became lost in the pale gray sky'."—Independent (London)

"Nightwoods is no typical thriller.... Its dazzling sentences are so meticulously constructed that you find yourself rereading them, trying to unpack their magic.... The unhurried, poetic suspense is both difficult to bear and impossible to shake."—Entertainment Weekly

"An Appalachian Gothic with a low-level fever that runs alternately warm and chilling."—Washington Post

"Astute and compassionate ... a virtuoso construction ... with wickedly wry dialogue."—Boston Globe

"His best book to date. Frazier's exquisitely efficient style is matched by some finely tuned suspense."—Times (London)