This retro review of Howard Waldrop’s sole solo novel pretty much sums up my feelings before and since November 23, 2003.
Review: Them Bones, Howard Waldrop, 1995.
My usual reaction to reading a Waldrop story is yes, it’s obvious he did a lot of research, but what was the point, why should I care?
This novel has something usually lacking in Waldrop — emotion. It’s a fast-paced, poignant read of time travelers stranded in two versions of the American Moundbuilder culture: one from our history and one in a world where Rome lost the Second Punic War. Waldrop does his usual thorough research, and here he actually gives us, rather than his usual bizarre juxtapositions of characters, some likeable people whose struggles and joys seem very real — to us, the reader, but almost invisible to the archeaologists from 1929 who study some odd mounds in Louisiania. This is a look at lives buried by time and ultimately, like all lives, capable of being seen and felt only in the imagination.
Waldrop fans will like this.
More importantly, even if you’re sometimes annoyed by Waldrop, you’ll like this.