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The Outlaw Album [Hardcover]

Daniel Woodrell
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

6 Oct 2011

Daniel Woodrell is able to lend uncanny logic to harsh, even criminal, behaviour in his wrenching first collection of short fiction. Desperation - both material and psychological - motivates his characters. A husband cruelly avenges the murder of his wife's pet; an injured rapist is cared for by a young girl, until she reaches breaking point; a disturbed veteran of Iraq is murdered for his erratic behaviour; an outsider's house is set on fire by an angry neighbour.

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.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Sceptre (6 Oct 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1444735764
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444735765
  • Product Dimensions: 15.7 x 23.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 621,594 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dan Woodrell comes from a long line of Ozarkers that stretch back before the Civil War. A high school dropout he joined the marine corps at 17. The military and he saw things differently. A period of post military drifting ended up at the University of Kansas and a Michener fellowship at the Iowa Writers School, where he was definitely the odd man out.

He is the author of eight novels including Under the Bright Lights, Muscle for the Wing, The Ones You Do, Ride With the Devil, Woe To Live On, Give Us A Kiss, Tomato Red and The Death Of Sweet Mister. He lives in West Plains, Missouri.

Critical Acclaim for Daniel Woodrell

"...Daniel Woodrell is a storyteller of bristling imagination and muscular prose, who uses the poetically profane language of the trailerpark to wicked effect..." - Sara Paretsky, Bizarre

"...Daniel Woodrell is stone brilliant ... a bayou Dutch Leonard steeped in rich Louisiana language..." - James Ellroy,

"...Daniel Woodrell is one of the most exciting writers I've discovered in a long time..." - Val McDermid, Manchester Evening News

Product Description


His language is complex, poetic, strange and beautiful, conjuring up the misty fields and woods of the Ozarks, and the fiercely independent people who live there. (Josh Lacey, Guardian)

wonderful, savage narratives...remarkable even by Woodrell's soaring standards (Irish Times)

tales of horror and desperation that'll leave you reeling. In a good way. (Shortlist)

'Woodrell is a marvellous writer' (Roddy Doyle)

In a tight navigation of narrative voice, Woodrell manages to turn candid detachment into a form of rough poetic truth, even though the lives of his characters remain far removed from the world of literary sentiment. (TLS)

'Woodrell writes in an almost biblical idiom, which makes the brutality of his stories shocking... These are timeless tales of humans capable of compassion but also monumental violence.' (Leyla Sanai, Independent)

'gripping...Woodrell's folk are as separate in their rituals and customs as any of Tolkein's mythical creations...Woodrell whittles his stories into shape with a serrated knife, and while the language of his characters is a constant surprise with those oblique turns-of-phrase...the curious sideways progression of his plots is what I find most enrapturing.' (George Pendle, Financial Times)

Woodrell writes about violence and dark deeds better than almost anyone in America today, in compact, musical prose that doesn't dwell on visceral detail. An unerring craftsman...Every story is loaded with gems...Most of the stories deal with the darkest recesses of the human heart, and once you start reading them you can't stop. (Donald Ray Pollock, New York Times)

Woodrell writes a striking prose that lopes from clause to clause like William Faulkner's...he recalls writers such as Cormac McCarthy, Flannery O'Connor and the Faulkner of Sanctuary in his ability to transform crime into literature. (John Dugdale, Literary Review)

Each story is a stylized dark allegory...The language is sparse yet majestic, deftly describing mountains, canyons and creek beds. (Theresa Munoz, Scottish Sunday Herald)

He has moved beyond the noir of his earlier work into something that encompasses a greater spectrum of understanding. He has cemented his role as one of America's greatest writers...THE OUTLAW ALBUM is an idiosyncratic, lyric, stunning collection of stories. It is one of the most important collections of short fiction produced in this country in over fifty years. (William Hastings, Industrial Worker Book Review)

Book Description

From the author of WINTER'S BONE, twelve timeless Ozarkian tales of those on the fringes of society, by the 'least known major writer in the country today' (Denis Lehane, USA Today)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A very disappointed Woodrell fan 11 Oct 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I never thought I'd ever give two stars to a Daniel Woodrell publication, but really this just doesn't work. I was bitterly disappointed by the lack of touch, for which Woodrell is famous. There are occasional glimpses of the customary poetic brilliance, but in the end it's a real mash-up of scraps of manuscripts and in one case is actually an earlier write of the brilliant novel "Woe to Live On". It feels like a mood board for a writer who seems to have lost his muse. There is one story, that begs to be turned into a novel - about a northerner who buys an old campground in the Ozarks and quickly finds himself in conflict with the baddest of the bad, but it just stops in mid-stream. It has been five years since Winter's Bone. I hope The Outlaw Album isn't expected to sate us for another five.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A History of Violence 7 Oct 2011
Readers may have encountered ten of the twelve stories collected here in periodicals such as Esquire, New Letters, and The Missouri Review, or in anthologies such as Murdaland, A Hell of a Woman, Men From Boys, and Bloodlines. I can imagine that when nestled in amongst other voices in these publications, Woodrell's distinctive prose bites the reader like a snake hiding in a woodpile. His first-person Ozark narratives are hard to mistake as belonging to any other author, and their matter of fact recounting of violence among hardscrabble people bring a lot of weight to the brief pages of each story.

The collection's tone is set not just by the first story, but by the first sentence of the first story: "Once Boshell finally killed his neighbor he couldn't seem to quit killing him." It's a story which establishes both the physical boundaries and the boundaries of expected behavior of the Ozark hollows Woodrell lives in and writes about (most famously in his book and the film made from it, Winter's Bone). The stories that follow include rape, arson, PTSD, more murder, guns, knives, and plenty of tough lives. Most are contemporary, although several duck back in time: one to a racial murder in the 1920s or 30s, and the story "Woe To Live On", about a Dutch bushwhacker riding with Quantril's Raiders during the Civil War. (This latter story was expanded to a book of the same name which became the basis for the 1999 film Ride With the Devil.)

When gathered together in this collection, Woodrell's characters lose a bit of their distinctiveness and power. As a result, the stories are probably best read slowly, perhaps one a week or so. Not every one is successful, but they all mark Woodrell as one of the best writers we have at this time and comparisons to Cormac McCarthy are hard to avoid. I'll definitely be seeking out other books of his.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars characters most writers would write novels about 10 Nov 2012
Outlaw Album once again, highlights Woodrell's mastery of his craft. His characters are full of life (and death) and the scenarios and histories he writes in so few words are staggering.

I can't think of another contemporary writer who paints portraits of their characters like him. When the protagonists of these short stories stomp or trudge through hazy woodlands filled with the latent potential for violence and misery, we the reader, are carried with them.

Dark and yet hopeful.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Woodrell's First Short Story Collection 19 Jan 2014
Withe the completion of this collection of short stories I have now read Woodrell's complete oeuvre. Being such an accomplished author of the short novel, I was looking forward to reading this collection of short stories thinking he would excel at this form as well. I have to say I was somewhat disappointed overall. On the whole, I found the stories to be okay. Of the twelve I thought three were excellent, one I didn't like, leaving the rest simply in the generally "good" category. One thing that did bother me was there was no copyright page for the stories, so I didn't know which were earlier works and which were newer. An interesting piece was the inclusion of "Woe to Live On", obviously the short story that proceeded his novel of the same name. Very good, the same as the novel but different as well.

1. The Echo of Neighborly Bones - An Ozark man kills his Minnesotan neighbor, a rude opinionated man. He keeps going back to revisit and rekill the corpse while we learn of the Minnesotans affronts to the man. It isn't until the end we learn the real reason he was killed. Short, but mesmerising. (3/5)

2. Uncle - A woman and her daughter are abused by her (I guess dead) husband's evil brother. He also takes lone tourist college girls floating down the river and rapes them. One day the daughter hits him viciously over the head blaming it on his last victim and now she had a 200 lb baby in a wheelchair to look after. This is creepy and where it heads and finishes is creepy too. (4/5)

3. Twin Forks - A fine story to read, haunting, but it's just weird. An event occurs but it is more about the man's past, his feelings, his having a moment in life and choosing which "fork" in the road to take. (3/5)

4. Florianne - Well this one is just kinda creepy.
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