Dealing with the aftermath of an accidental shooting, Donny Bailey Seagraves’ Gone From These Woods is a meditation on grief, anger and loss.
11-year-old Daniel has a troubled relationship with his alcoholic father so he finds companionship and a father-figure in his fun-loving uncle Clay. When Clay gives Daniel his grandfather’s .410 rifle and proposes rabbit hunting, Daniel has mixed feelings: he wants to spend time with Clay but he has a secret aversion to hunting and killing. With a rabbit in his sights, Daniel is unable to take his shot; but in the moment after the rabbit runs, Daniel’s life is shattered when Uncle Clay goes down.
Seagraves treats all her characters and this horrible tragedy with loving sensitivity. She paints the people and places of rural Georgia where the story takes place with the gentle, observant touch of a native. The pain that torments Daniel, and his parents, is eloquently displayed while always remaining faithful to her 11-year old protagonist’s point of view and emotional development level. As everyone around Daniel tries to help him return to normal after these horrific events, his own thoughts betray how deeply he has been damaged by what’s happened. Seagraves leaves the reader with the understanding that eventually Daniel will be able to move forward with his life and forgive himself, but also that life is as much about love and hope as it is about sadness and loss.
- Posted by Cori