Woe to Live on

Daniel Woodrell, Author
Daniel Woodrell, Author Henry Holt & Company $16.45 (214p) ISBN 978-0-8050-0283-6
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987
Release date: 01/01/1987
Narrator Jake Roedel is in his mid-teens when he joins the First Kansas Irregulars in 1861. During the next few years he sees, and commits, more than his share of Civil War atrocities. Most of the action takes place in Kansas and Missouri between the rebel Irregulars (bushwhackers) and the Union Jayhawkers, with some civilians caught in the crossfire. The studiedly cool Jake experiences loss (the deaths of his best friend, father and comrades) and love (the best friend's ""widow''); he also learns about tolerance from his contact with a nobly reserved black Irregular. There's plenty of hard riding, drinking and shooting, most of it leading to bloodshed. Jake's loyalty to the ``secesh'' cause is unquestioning and doesn't quite gibe with his growing unease amid the gore, or with his departure in the midst of the war for Texas with wife and child. The prose is occasionally rather pretentious, but this is a generally enjoyable coming-of-age novel by the author of Under the Bright Lights. (June 5)
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