The Outlaw Album: Stories
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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).
sucked down boots and held them there. The whiskey was running low and this raised tempers. Riley Crawford, not yet sixteen but the deadest shot among us, missed the ball with a kick of vigor and shinned Big Bob Flannery. Big Bob knotted him one on the head, and Riley cut him under the armpit by reflex. Captain Quantrill then snatched up the ball and hid it away, saying he would shoot any of us who murdered a comrade. After the noon meal, Captain Quantrill and Black John announced that there
in my head, those dusty toes, stiff laces, childish sizes that didn’t belong to me anymore—too much footwear and no clarity! clarity!—but finally I selected the white sneakers I already had on that they give out while you’re in there and I’m used to feeling on my feet. The skirt flounced real twisty and shook those dots fizzy when I walked to the truck. Sleepy sped out the driveway and onto the blacktop, tromping the gas toward China Church, or maybe Dorta. His booze bottle slid underfoot on the
wrong to you. I went without thinking or making the choice over the grass to the steps, the way my sleep would want, and swung my dots, sliding past the wife and the farmer. The boy looks at me like he doesn’t remember bicycling through fields of waving grain all night so clear as I do. “I’m here about your yellow hair.” “I’m listenin’ to what they say.” “Don’t you have wooden shoes you wear sometimes?” “I know who you are.” I start to reach for his hand, to hold it and feel the warm
all from before we were born and walked on laughing, down the spiraled path to low ground and away through a rough patch of scrub, into a small stand of pine trees and the knowing shadow they laid over us, our history, our trespassing boots. Reading Group Guide The Outlaw Album Stories Daniel Woodrell A conversation with Daniel Woodrell In past interviews, you’ve described some of your novels as “country noir.” Can you talk about what sets country noir apart from regular noir?
blush of pink and white, and there’s bones sticking up from the mud below, with little volunteer vines growing around them, linking them together, like the scattered bones don’t truly belong to death but might hop up reunited by vines and dance a loose clattering jig once more. Hopeful, I guess, deep down, which is why they wanted me to paint. I have a dozen dead items painted that way. I know the departed cow in the sideways tree will be next. Before I went into the desert I’d had a decent