I read Easter Weekend by David Bottoms about a month ago–to be exact, a few days before Easter.
I’d never heard of the novel or David Bottoms before; all Wikipedia told me was that A) He is primarily a poet, B) He is highly recognized by his poetry, and C) He is quite southern. That’s not very helpful.
Once I got into it, though, I saw a lot of down-on-their-luck-criminals-making-bad-decisions. Below is a (hopefully) spoiler-free synopses:
Brothers–one weak and thoughtful, the other controlling–kidnap a rich kid. Like Fargo, just about everything goes wrong. It opens in a one-act play sort of way by showing the brothers’ differences and interactions with their hostage (who is, of course, chained to a radiator in a cabin in the middle of the woods). The younger brother is sent out to run some errands. Instead of listening to the older one, he makes even dumber mistakes and, because he’s sympathetic, helps out a bum who’s camping out in a graveyard. Things happen, some small-town gangsters get involved, and the younger brother goes on a run and–needless to say–nothing goes his way.
Why You Should Read It
I didn’t have any expectations going into this small book (it’s readable in a few hours). What took me away was the language. It was very concise and lyrical coming from a poet-novelist and painted, vividly, Macon, Georgia. Of course, what interested me the most was the movie-esque plot and speed of the novel. It was very contained, all the details were important, and we got inside the head of a character that we may recognize but not understand.
Here’s why writers should read Easter Weekend:
- Place, creating place, and using space
- A tutorial on creating momentum
- Spicing up real life with desperate personalities
It was a small book that I read quickly; I’m not doing it justice, but you should.