Greenville County, South Carolina, is home to the Boatwright family - rough-hewn men who drink hard and shoot up each other's trucks, and indomitable women who marry young and age all too quickly. At the heart of this astonishing novel is Ruth Anne Boatwright, known simply as Bone, a South Carolina bastard with an annotated birth certificate to tell the tale. Observing everything with the mercilessly keen eye of a child, Bone finds herself caught in a family triangle that will test the loyalty of her mother, Anney. Her stepfather, Daddy Glen, calls Bone "cold as death, mean as a snake, and twice as twisty", yet Anney needs Glen "like a strong woman needs meat between her teeth". At first gentle with Bone, Daddy Glen becomes steadily colder and more furious - until their final, harrowing encounter, from which there can be no turning back. Written in a mesmerizing voice that mingles the languid rhythms of country music with raw, unsparing descriptions of emotional and physical violence, this moving novel marks the emergence of an extraordinarily gifted writer.