November 7, 2011

The Outlaw Album by Daniel Woodrell

The Outlaw Album by Daniel Woodrell is as the title suggests – stories about criminals or outlaws. The album contains twelve stories with characters that will leave you thinking about them long after you read their short story.

Book Description
Twelve timeless Ozarkian tales of those on the fringes of society, by a "stunningly original" (Associated Press) American master.

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).” – The Outlaw Album

My Thoughts
The stories in The Outlaw Album are harsh, yet somewhat relatable, which makes them that much more eerie of tales. This book contains stories from the Ozarks, but even if you’ve never personally been there, that is okay. Daniel Woodrell is able to take you there in these stories, and even though the stories are about crimes, they do make you treasure the area where the stories take place.

It could easily be read in one evening, but taking the time to savor each story is a better way to read this book, at least in my opinion. The characters are dynamic and their stories are memorable.

This is not a book for conservative readers to pick up. Sure, some may like it, but it is likely that this type of reader will not. However, if you enjoy stories with outlaws, criminals, and just overall good writing, you’ll enjoy this book.

* Thank you to the publisher of The Outlaw Album, Little, Brown, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I want to read about outlaws, but good review.