Last Night in Twisted River
The story opens in 1954 at a logging camp along the Twisted River. Danny is only twelve years old when, hearing strange noises, he walks in on his father having sex with an American Indian woman known as Injun Jane, a large, hirsute lady. Danny thinks Injun Jane is a bear attacking his father and he hits her with an iron skillet, killing her. Father and son run away in fear of violent retribution from the local constable, who is Injun Jane’s boyfriend. The novel covers the next fifty years as the boyfriend pursues them in search of revenge.
The author’s voice is strong throughout the novel. It was like being in the same room with an old man reminiscing about his life, with verbal detours back and forward in time. The writing is lyrical and evocative, but I found my credulity with the plot at times stretched to breaking point. There is also a seam of casual violence flowing through this book which I found disturbing. Many of the men seem emotionally damaged or immature, while the women are sexually voracious and physically large to the point of caricature. Fans of John Irving will no doubt enjoy this book; those like me who are unfamiliar with his work may find this not to their taste.