Friday, January 18, 2013
Review of Go With Me by Castle Freeman (Duckworth Overlook, 2008)
Go With Me is a country noir novella, full of atmosphere and sense of place. The great strength of the book, however, is the characterisation, dialogue and prose. Freeman’s style is all show and no tell, and with a few deft sentences he paints a vivid picture. The dialogue is absolutely spot-on, with some very well penned scenes where people are talking over and past each other, or at cross-purposes, or where conversations have nice elliptic loops, and sometimes all of these at once. The story itself is divided in two main strands. The first is Lillian’s quest to deal with Blackway aided by Lester and Nate. The second is four old timers chatting about their chances of success as they drink the day away in the mill. They are nicely complementary, the second providing a kind of contextual commentary on the first. The plot moves at a relatively swift pace to a tense conclusion. Whilst the book worked very well as a novella, and would provide a very good basis for a movie, my sense was the story was a little too linear, with no twists or turns or subplots, and if worked up into a longer piece could have been exceptional. Nonetheless, Go With Me is an engaging and enjoyable slice of country noir.