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5.0 out of 5 starsBone dogs
Reviewed in the United States on October 22, 2020
Is interesting story of life, death and above all Trust! I enjoyed the bonds of friendships the developed along the way and love the way this story was written in such a simple, basic format. I will be reading everything Roger Alan Skipper writes.
I thought the book was engaging. I truly believe that this story could actually be someone's life. Things like this really do happen. The mind does play with us like this. We all have our own ghosts and pasts to wrestle with in life.
Once again Skinner takes us on the windy Appalacian roads of rural Americana racing with a mouth full of country. Caught up by the folkways and mores of the mountains and the reality of life everywhere Skinner weaves his tale in a lets turn the page now and ride this to the end. Thank god for the people he meets along the way. Some bad and many good and all necessary. Farmer Frank
I consider a novel to be great if it fulfills my personal criteria. First, I long to lose myself in the protagonist's mind and fall instantly in empathy or agony with him. I want to explore a place that's geographically or psychologically unfamiliar to me, though its contours should roll easily toward home. On a more sophisticated level, I want the tactile environment of the novel to have a subliminal level where symbols and archetypes abound. And throughout the work, I want the writing to achieve a Shakespearean rhythm and elegance that's consistent with its own social world. Is this too much to ask? Roger Skipper's novel Bone Dogs surpassed all my hopes.
Yes, Skipper's protagonist, Tuesday Price is an alcoholic with little to recommend himself on a job resumé, but when he says he's "bellyful of the same old roads" and sets off on a new one, a reader would be a fool not to jog along with him. The detour takes him past the home of a strange Vietnam vet. From there, the road home is a complex maze of switchbacks and dead ends through rural West Virginia where a dog may be tied up, forgotten, and left to dry in the sun.
Tuesday's language is seductive and lyrical in its own redneck way. His preacher skewers sinners' souls like hot dogs over the flames of hell. His mother's eyes are dark pools like maple syrup, and his thoughts occasionally puzzle him. "When you got to the edge of your belly button you thought you'd found the property line at the far end of the universe." There's nothing contrived here. Tuesday's language binds events to his perception of them, so his brief sojourns into his past flow into his emotional present. And sometimes his simple observations betray his agony. When his wife leaves him, he says, "Women are like that. They look out the window. Then they stand at the door. And then one day they're gone."
Most importantly, Tuesday's quest is mythic. His agonies are those of a lost Ulysses, a misguided Pip, a tormented Gregor Samsa. And Tuesday's rebuilding is both a physical effort and a spiritual one. That the young sales clerk in the local hardware store doesn't volunteer that Tu is using the wrong kind of grout or putty for the job he's doing is significant. His re-building is more than ripping out and replacement.
Bone Dogs is a novel whose form and meaning form a cathartic whole. Roger Skipper calls himself a redneck, but he's also a luthier, a word that impresses my friends. He makes musical instruments. The work he does with his hands, whether at the computer keyboard or in his workshop, is precise and so perfectly orchestrated--with both linguistic and musical rhythms--that a reader or a musician feels blessed to hold his creations.
Reviewed in the United States on November 27, 2016
Haunting, reflective. A readers read. A cast of charactors to like and dislike and Tuesday himself. I liked it, liked the style. Hell I think I even helped restore the old family home, thats how immersed you get in this great piece of writing.
Dear reader, I’ve finished Bone Dogs and have moved on to The Baptism of Billy Bean. Roger Alan Skipper’s characters are jumping out of the pages, or rather they have pulled me right in to their story. Mr. Skipper’s sentences are jam packed with meaning, wriggling with life, and so descriptive they vibrate off the pages. I find myself obsessively reading and rereading so I don’t miss one word and I can thoroughly absorb each line. The setting is rural West Virginia, our characters are local folks struggling to find a connection between our fast paced world, and a time where life seemed simpler and the rules more clearly defined. Poverty, ignorance, addiction, faith and introspection come in to play as the author leads us through the past and present of these richly developed characters; and you will find yourself rooting for them every step of the way. These books are a must read and will leave you wanting more.
5.0 out of 5 starsWarmth, humor, keen observations of what makes us tick
Reviewed in the United States on March 31, 2010
I just can't wait to sit down with this book every night. In fact, I find myself backing up to reread chapters just to make it last longer! No matter how hard my day has been, I find myself laughing out loud and relaxing, while at the same time catching my breath in admiration of how skillfully Skipper works with the English language. He catches the rhyme and meter of the voices of people in the western Maryland mountains and turns those words into poetry on the page. The characters leap into my imagination --- whether Skipper has them commenting wryly on the way life turns all of us inside out and makes us human, or if they are telling side-splitting jokes. Skipper just keeps getting better with each new novel. Don't miss out on the pure pleasure of this read.