Country Dark

Grove. Apr. 2018. 240p. ISBN 9780802127792. $24; ebk. ISBN 9780802146168. F
OrangeReviewStarThe talented Offutt here returns to rural Kentucky, the territory defining his fiction and memoirs. In 1954, 17-year-old Tucker arrives home from Korea with 11 medals, $400 in army pay, and 15-year-old Rhonda, who is about to become his wife. While other men head for Ohio factory jobs, Tucker stays in his beloved Kentucky hills and delivers moonshine for the local runner Beanpole. Over the next ten years, Tucker and Rhonda have six children, four severely disabled, and the devoted Tucker works the dangerous but well-paid job to provide for them. When an officious social worker threatens to institutionalize their children, Tucker metes out his own justice, an act of violence that Beanpole holds over him to force him to take the fall in a fake raid. If Tucker goes to prison for eight months, Beanpole will pay Rhonda's bills and give Tucker a big bonus. Once Tucker is imprisoned, however, a gang fight sends Tucker to maximum security for five more years. When released, he heads home to settle a few scores.
VERDICT In Offutt's first work of fiction since 1997's The Good Brother, the award-winning author delivers a rich, compelling story of hardscrabble Kentucky mountain life while showing deep empathy for his careworn characters. [See Prepub Alert, 10/16/17.]
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing