The Ones You Do

Daniel Woodrell, Author
Daniel Woodrell, Author Henry Holt & Company $19.45 (212p) ISBN 978-0-8050-0972-9
Mass Market Paperbound - 256 pages - 978-0-451-40385-8
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-671-00135-3
Paperback - 252 pages - 978-1-84243-049-1
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In this zesty, evocative novel of Cajun country, the third tale set in seamy St. Bruno (after Under the Bright Lights and Muscle fo r the Wing ), Woodrell reunites the three Shade brothers with their dissolute father. Aged rake and reprobate John X. Shade returns to his native Louisiana bayous, where he reviews his checkered past. Vengeful sociopath Lunch Pumphrey is hot on his trail, bent on recovering $47,000 stored in John X.'s safe, but Shade's young wife has absconded with the money in order to launch her singing career, leaving their daughter, toughly precocious Etta, in her father's care. Though nefarious Lunch is the instrument of his downfall, Shade's real conflict is with his own waning history--the people he ruined, the family he abandoned, the lifestyle he can no longer sustain (he is too shaky to wield his custom-made pool cue) and the young girl he now must protect. ``It may be that all I ever did with my life was to the bad, but, damn, son, I sure would like to do it all again,'' he tells his oldest son, Tip. Lunch becomes the deadly agent of Shade's own karma. The story is authentically gritty and profane, and chock-full of winning details: Lunch numbering his Salems and smoking seven a day; a cuckolded husband removing his dentures to fight Shade but replacing them to enunciate his insults. Brimming with clever dialogue and quotable Cajun wit, it's an irresistible narrative. (Apr.)
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