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Cropper's Cabin (2014)

Cropper's Cabin (2014)
3.53 of 5 Votes: 1
0316403768 (ISBN13: 9780316403764)
mulholland books
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Cropper's Cabin (2014)
Cropper's Cabin (2014)

About book: 19-year-old Tommy Carver has spent his entire life under the thumb (and belt) of his oppressive racist father, suffering along with his step-mother Mary, a lustful woman only fourteen years older than himself and devoid of any maternal instincts. He’s spent his whole life fighting the system, but as a bright kid who made the football team, his life still has plenty of potential. He’s the secret beau of Donna Ontime, daughter of the local landowner, a native american with some sixty sharecropped acres on prime oil territory. Tommy’s pa owns his own ten acres right in the middle of the Ontime territory, and despite his lust for oil money, he knows that there’s no way an oil company will buy his meagre ten acres surrounded by the sprawling Ontime cotton fields.And, as the novel begins, Tommy begins living for the first time in his live: by taking one stand, he changes everything, and every year’s worth of pent-up anger and abuse comes gushing out. When the school janitor finds Tommy stealing a half-eaten sandwich out of a trash can, the boy’s pride refuses to let him tell the truth, and his emboldened stand leads him to be pegged for a string of thefts in the school. At home, his father pushes him to stand against Mr. Ontime in front of Donna, an altercation that turns violent. Tommy takes that a step farther and stands up to his father: the old man had ruled over Tommy and Mary for almost two decades, and Tommy’s resistance causes his front to topple down.Then comes a murder, of which Tommy is chief suspect. He didn’t do it, but nobody seems to believe him. And with that newfound stubborn pride and determination, Tommy continues to take a stand… perhaps one that goes a bit too far…The novel itself feels a bit disjointed, and it wouldn’t surprise me if it was written before The Killer Inside Me. The first half of the novel is great setup, showing Tommy’s flawed world, watching him square his shoulders and take a stance against his father’s racism while taking the fall for a crime he didn’t commit. After that, it becomes an extended chase scene, and then a legal court drama. It’s a marked departure from Killer Inside Me or works like The Grifters and Pop. 1280. Thompson’s writing style and down-on-his-luck protagonist are familiar tropes; however, the novel is very much a slow burn, more introspective not just of its characters but also the history of its setting. It’s also got an ending that’s not half as bleak as the last Thompson novel I read, The Grifters, and the characters felt a bit shallow in comparison.At the end of the day, I can see why Cropper’s Cabin is not a popular Thompson novel: it doesn’t read like the novels considered his best. But to discount Cropper’s Cabin out of hand does a disservice to a strong novel; rather than assuming it’s another The Getaway, be aware of its strengths going in. The historical setting is fascinating, and between that and the intricate setup of characters, Thompson uses the book to explore some fascinating themes: sex, poverty, racial politics, community, family, love and hate. Cropper’s Cabin lacks the soul-crushing grit honed to a fine polish Thompson’s noir novels showcase. But as a novel of impoverished, downtrodden Americana, delving into the psychological turmoil of a teen pushed to the edge, it’s an underrated gem.

interesting read. examines issues of race, community, responsibility... totally accessible. occasionally crackling language, but overall kind of disappointing. the plot is tightly wound and i expected more of a SNAP when the time came. i would recommend this to people who don't like to read much. or people who have a thing for oklahoma or white/indian relations in the 1950s. or fans of crime novels. i might read another one or two of thompson's books just to see whether the book was just a weaker effort or if he is just not a top ten favorite.
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About as close as you’re gonna get to a literary version of a Russ Meyer movie like “Mudhoney” or “Common Law Cabin” with a strappin’ young hillbilly science scholar fightin’ off the pulchritudes of his half-breed girlfriend, steamy buxom foster maw or even the apple biting teacher with the biggest pair of blackboard erasers this side of the Loozyanna swamps. Just to keep the Russ vibe flowing there’s whips crackin’ and jeeps flyin’ through the next 158 pages. Maw even pleasures herself on Page 48, too much. Haji call your agent.
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