Monday, January 01, 2007

By Joe R. Lansdale

The Bottoms is a classic coming of age tale set in the deep Piney Woods section of East Texas. Harry Crane is ten years old. His daddy is the local constable as well as being the barber and a farmer. Texas is locked in the dark days of the Depression and Blacks are definitely not equal to Whites.

Harry and his sister Tom, short for Thomasina, like to visit the Bottoms. This is the swampy area of mosquitoes and alligators along the Sabine River. It is a haunted place, the dreaded Goat Man wanders the area by night. Other things wander too, one leaves behind the body of a murdered Black woman.

What follows is formally a mystery story, much like A Fine Dark Line, or Sunset and Sawdust. But The Bottoms is as much about the people that Harry grows up among, the ones he learns from, the ones that are admirable, and the ones that are despicable.

The Bottoms is a raw story, sometimes brutal and sometimes coarse. Lansdale does not pull punches. The reward is his amazing story telling ability and the deep love he has for East Texas in this unique and typically Lansdale story.
-Dave Hardy

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