Kirkus Reviews QR Code
NINE MAN TREE by Robert Newton Peck


by Robert Newton Peck

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-679-89257-5
Publisher: Random House

In the Florida swamplands during the Depression, a giant, crazed, man-eating boarhog is terrorizing the community. Yoolee Tharp is desperate to protect his mother and beloved younger sister Havilah, but his drinking, big-talking father, Velmer, is all but useless (and “mean, ornery, sneaky, greedy,” as well as a “brainless fool,” and an “unfeeling bully”). Uncle Bib, visiting the family his citified girlfriend Miss Sugar, sets out with elderly Hacksaw Hix (Yoolee secretly following), to track the boar. They succeed only in luring the boar back to their cabin, which it destroys, killing Velmer in a graphically violent scene. Peck returns to the powerful combination of grit and poetry that made A Day No Pigs Would Die (TKTK) a classic. His characterizations are vivid, especially Yoolee, who is poised on the edge of a difficult manhood. The death of Velmer is gory; the tidy ending grates, but this is an exciting story, colorfully told. (Fiction. 10-13)