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The Outlaw Album

by Daniel Woodrell

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2861977,635 (3.82)38
Twelve timeless Ozarkian tales of those on the fringes of society, by a "stunningly original" American master (Associated Press). Daniel Woodrell is able to lend uncanny logic to harsh, even criminal behavior in this wrenching collection of stories. Desperation-both material and psychological -- motivates his characters. A husband cruelly avenges the killing of his wife's pet; an injured rapist is cared for by a young girl, until she reaches her breaking point; a disturbed veteran of Iraq is murdered for his erratic behavior; an outsider's house is set on fire by an angry neighbor. There is also the tenderness and loyalty of the vulnerable in these stories -- between spouses, parents and children, siblings, and comrades in arms-which brings the troubled, sorely tested cast of characters to vivid, relatable life. And, as ever, "the music coming from Woodrell's banjo cannot be confused with the sounds of any other writer"-Donald Harington, Atlanta Journal Constitution "Twelve timeless Ozarkian tales of those on the fringes of society, by a "stunningly original"-Associated Press, American master.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
Rereading this collection I'm struck at Woodrell's flexibility with each narrative. From an oral history of a man's death and racial violence in "The Horse in Our History" to the intimate first-person of a girl who was sexually abused and gets her revenge in "Uncle." There is also no repetition of one narrator or voice and though not all the narratives are as compelling, particularly the closing piece "Returning to the River," the majority of this collection is an enjoyable and meticulously delivered set of short stories grounded in the landscape of Missouri. ( )
  b.masonjudy | Apr 3, 2020 |
The Outlaw Album is a collection of short stories by Daniel Woodrell and although I am a huge fan of this author, I would suggest that newcomers to his work start with one of his novels rather than this collection of inventive, gritty stories that are about tough characters who always choose the dark side. The stories pull no punches whether they are about murder, rape or revenge. His characters are mostly backwoods folk from the Ozarks familiar with drugs, liquor and guns and it is often impossible to find any redeeming or likeable qualities in them.

As with all short story collections, I preferred some stories over others but all are written in his hauntingly simple, heart-felt prose that paint vivid pictures of the Ozark countryside and the intense people he places there. The Outlaw Album is a book filled with tense stories, hard characters and brutal actions and I am happy to include this timeless, provocative collection on my shelf alongside his other works. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Feb 18, 2020 |
Woodrell is a great read. Roughly the same neighborhood as McCarthy, but much more accessible. And by accessible, I don't mean 'nice but inferior'. Accessible is just a different kind of good. I like McCarthy a lot, but sometimes his prose is quite dense. Most of the time, that's part of fun--the intellectual pleasure of working it out, solving the puzzle.

But sometimes I'm in no mood for puzzles. Sometimes, I just want the picture. And Woodrell sure as hell can paint. ( )
  ralphpalm | Nov 11, 2019 |
I loved Winter's Bone (and found it very authentic). But--and I say this as someone who grew up about twenty minutes from where these stories are set--the characters in this book did not ring true to me. The writing is lovely, but I don't believe it. ( )
  GaylaBassham | May 27, 2018 |
Uneven but what I liked, I REALLY liked - The Black Step, Twin Forks and Woe to Live On. Great writing. compelling situations.

Beautiful Burchfield on the cover too. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
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Twelve timeless Ozarkian tales of those on the fringes of society, by a "stunningly original" American master (Associated Press). Daniel Woodrell is able to lend uncanny logic to harsh, even criminal behavior in this wrenching collection of stories. Desperation-both material and psychological -- motivates his characters. A husband cruelly avenges the killing of his wife's pet; an injured rapist is cared for by a young girl, until she reaches her breaking point; a disturbed veteran of Iraq is murdered for his erratic behavior; an outsider's house is set on fire by an angry neighbor. There is also the tenderness and loyalty of the vulnerable in these stories -- between spouses, parents and children, siblings, and comrades in arms-which brings the troubled, sorely tested cast of characters to vivid, relatable life. And, as ever, "the music coming from Woodrell's banjo cannot be confused with the sounds of any other writer"-Donald Harington, Atlanta Journal Constitution "Twelve timeless Ozarkian tales of those on the fringes of society, by a "stunningly original"-Associated Press, American master.

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