This Darksome Burn


This Darksome Burn by Nick Ripatrazone

thisdarksomeburn_coverThis Darksome Burn
by Nick Ripatrazone
firthFORTH, Forthcoming October 2013
66 pages / More Information







Myth:This Darksome Burn is a fierce rendition of nature’s obstinate force. Indeed, for one man, toughness and tenacity provide no match for the unpredictable wilderness of the shadowing Siskiyou mountain or his own bereft emotional frontier.” [1]

It’s partially true: Nick Ripatrazone’s new novella begins with Luke camped out in the woods, hunted by a pack of wolves. He has to let his horse free so the wolves will follow it instead of him. When he gets home, tragedy has occurred. He traipses through wailing snow to find the man that raped his daughter, shotgun in hand. Even the cover of the book is a great volcano-like mountain, rising foreboding and dark against the night sky. The wilderness is This Darksome Burn’s setting, as billed. But the really valuable work of the novella is in the juxtaposition between Luke’s “toughness and tenacity” and something less wild: not “his own bereft emotional frontier,” exactly, but the demands of a modern world on a man who has most of his life relied on reticence and grit, virtues of a time that has gone.

It becomes clear, as the novella goes on, that Luke’s wife has died, leaving him in charge of his teenage daughter Aurea and his younger son Ford. Luke knows that he is unequipped. When his daughter is sexually assaulted, all he can think to do is nearly kill the man who has done it, then keep Aurea on house arrest indefinitely. Her concerns are more complicated:

Luke tells Aurea that she still has time. “To tell the police everything.”

“I’m not going to.”

“You protect that bastard. Do you love him?”

“I hate him.”

“Then do it.”

“I’m trying to forget about him.” Aurea closes her hand around Luke’s and looks to the porch. “Can we not do this here?”


September 23rd, 2013 / 11:05 am