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The Bone Tree

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.
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Discuss The Bone Tree by Greg Iles:

Created: 10/29/16

Replies: 7

Posted Oct. 29, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
donnac's Gravatar

Join Date: 03/26/14

Posts: 139



Did Iles' graphic depiction of violence enhance or detract from your reading experience? Do you feel it lent authenticity to the story, necessary to character or plot development? Or was it over-the-top, maybe gratuitous?

Posted Oct. 30, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert

Join Date: 12/03/11

Posts: 189


RE: Violence

I haven't quite finished the book yet, but so far I am finding a lot of the violence (such as incineration by flamethrower) from this and "Natchez Burning" way over the top and it is detracting from my reading experience. I actually have to put the book down and recover after some of the more vivid descriptions. On the other hand, I understand why Iles is so graphic. He is reporting on a terrible time in our history, and violence was a big part of that time period.

Posted Oct. 31, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert

Join Date: 02/13/13

Posts: 30

RE: Violence

Some of the violence seems over the top and seems to drag on for chapters . I do know why he used so much violence because I believe he wanted the reader to get the feeling of what the violence was like at that time going on for days and weeks withno end to it. The first scene of the book where he is using an antique flame thrower to kill so many people in a very. large mansion with them not able to escape seemed over the top. During very gruesome scenes I had to walk away from the book and then return to it after a break.

Posted Nov. 01, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert

Join Date: 10/04/15

Posts: 60


RE: Violence

It is a very violent book, telling the story of very violent men in a violent organization. The descriptions of most of the violence are very detailed and probably accurate as to the instruments of violence and torture. I did feel the scenes drew on for a long time and there were many "asides" - flash backs or memories from the victims, long sections of dialog that seemed out of character for the gender and ego of the speaker, or unrelated bits from the character past that added nothing to scene (Caitlins's final scenes at the Bone Tree - really, a college boyfriend?) Unfortunately, it just left me thinking, "he must have been paid for 800 pages."

Posted Nov. 02, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert

Join Date: 07/10/14

Posts: 38

RE: Violence

To be historically accurate I believe you have to describe the violence as horrifically as it probably occurred. When reading a novel dealing with the atrocities that the black people incurred, I don't know why you would expect the violence to be toned down?

Posted Nov. 05, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert

Join Date: 05/19/11

Posts: 90


RE: Violence

I think the question is very valid. It was a distraction. I understand the need to protray the true violence that is part of a story set in the South. But it was way over the top for me..especially Caitlin's self surgery... It definitely not only distracted me but took away the real story!

Posted Nov. 07, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 264


RE: Violence

I agree with djn. Much of the story gave us exaggerated violence when it could have been more realistic. The cruel treatment of the Blacks may have been such—but a lot of the pure gore could have been eliminated. I think we got Greg Iles at one of his most imaginative periods!

Posted Nov. 09, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Silly Lotus

Join Date: 10/07/15

Posts: 15

RE: Violence

Yes, I agree about the violence. It is very graphic and off-putting for a casual reader. Much of the violence against blacks has been documented and the treatment of whites sympathetic to the civil rights movement has been similarly described. I think, though, that the descriptive violence in tha Bone Tree and Natchez Burning may serve only to turn away readers who may not yet be able to face the rotten moments in our history. I think making the story a little more accessible could increase the reading public to include members who are a little squeamish about blood and gore.


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