Read The Bottoms by Joe R. Lansdale Free Online
Book Title: The Bottoms|
Date of issue: September 19th 2000
ISBN 13: 9780892967049
The author of the book: Joe R. Lansdale
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 25.75 MB
Read full description of the books The Bottoms:The Barnes & Noble Review
Much of The Bottoms -- winner of the 2001 Edgar Award for Best Novel -- will probably seem familiar to Lansdale's longtime readers. It is based directly on his Stoker Award-winning novella, "Mad Dog Summer," and it revisits the territory covered in his young adult novel, The Boar , which was likewise set in the hardscrabble world of Depression-era Texas. This time out, though, the scope of the narrative is considerably more expansive, and the story itself is more suspenseful and acutely observed. The result is a novel that functions successfully on a number of levels: as a detailed, authentic portrait of the Great Depression; as a moving but unsentimental coming-of-age story; and as a graphic, nontraditional example of the serial killer novel.
The narrator of The Bottoms is Harry Collins, an old man obsessively reflecting on certain key experiences of his childhood. In 1933, the year that forms the centerpiece of the narrative, Harry is 11 years old and living with his mother, father, and younger sister on a farm outside of Marvel Creek, Texas, near the Sabine River bottoms. Harry's world changes forever when he discovers the corpse of a young black woman tied to a tree in the forest near his home. The woman, who is eventually identified as a local
prostitute, has been murdered, molested, and sexually mutilated. She is also, as Harry will soon discover, the first in a series of similar corpses, all of them the victims of a new, unprecedented sort of monster: a traveling serial killer.
From his privileged position as the son of constable (and farmer and part-time barber) Jacob Collins, Harry watches as the distinctly amateur investigation unfolds. As more bodies -- not all of them "colored" -- surface, the mood of the local residents darkens. Racial tensions -- never far from the surface, even in the best of times -- gradually kindle. When circumstantial evidence implicates an ancient, innocent black man named Mose, the Ku Klux Klan mobilizes, initiating a chilling, graphically described lynching that will occupy a permanent place in Harry Collins's memories. With Mose dead and the threat to local white women presumably put to rest, the residents of Marvel Creek resume their normal lives, only to find that the actual killer remains at large and continues to threaten the safety and
stability of the town.
Lansdale uses this protracted murder investigation to open up a window on an insular, poverty-stricken, racially divided community. With humor, precision, and great narrative economy, he evokes the society of Marvel Creek in all its alternating tawdriness and nobility, offering us a varied, absolutely convincing portrait of a world that has receded into history. At the same time, he offers us a richly detailed re-creation of the vibrant, dangerous physical landscapes that were part of that world and have since been buried under the concrete and cement of the industrialized juggernaut of the late 20th century. In Lansdale's hands, the gritty
realities of Depression-era Texas are as authentic -- and memorable -- as anything in recent American fiction.
The Bottoms reflects a large number of clearly discernible influences. Faulkner is a palpable presence here. So is Flannery O'Connor. So, too, is Harper Lee, whose To Kill a Mockingbird informs this novel on almost every page. Recent influences -- such as Caleb Carr's The Alienist and the Stephen King's of The Green Mile -- seem equally apparent. In the end, though, Lansdale manages to absorb and contain these influences, and to create a novel that is uniquely, unmistakably his own. The Bottoms is the real, unadulterated thing: a moving, involving story told in a distinctive, authentic narrative voice. Don't let it pass you by. (Bill Sheehan)
Bill Sheehan reviews horror, suspense, and science fiction for Cemetery Dance, The New York Review of Science Fiction, and other publications. His book-length critical study of the fiction of Peter Straub, At the Foot of the Story Tree, has been published by Subterranean Press (www.subterraneanpress.com).
Read information about the authorChampion Mojo Storyteller Joe R. Lansdale is the author of over forty novels and numerous short stories. His work has appeared in national anthologies, magazines, and collections, as well as numerous foreign publications. He has written for comics, television, film, newspapers, and Internet sites. His work has been collected in more than two dozen short-story collections, and he has edited or co-edited over a dozen anthologies. He has received the Edgar Award, eight Bram Stoker Awards, the Horror Writers Association Lifetime Achievement Award, the British Fantasy Award, the Grinzani Cavour Prize for Literature, the Herodotus Historical Fiction Award, the Inkpot Award for Contributions to Science Fiction and Fantasy, and many others. His novella Bubba Ho-Tep was adapted to film by Don Coscarelli, starring Bruce Campbell and Ossie Davis. His story "Incident On and Off a Mountain Road" was adapted to film for Showtime's "Masters of Horror," and he adapted his short story "Christmas with the Dead" to film hisownself. The film adaptation of his novel Cold in July was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, and the Sundance Channel has adapted his Hap & Leonard novels for television.
He is currently co-producing several films, among them The Bottoms, based on his Edgar Award-winning novel, with Bill Paxton and Brad Wyman, and The Drive-In, with Greg Nicotero. He is Writer In Residence at Stephen F. Austin State University, and is the founder of the martial arts system Shen Chuan: Martial Science and its affiliate, Shen Chuan Family System. He is a member of both the United States and International Martial Arts Halls of Fame. He lives in Nacogdoches, Texas with his wife, dog, and two cats.
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