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The Outlaw Album: Stories Hardcover – October 5, 2011

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Editorial Reviews



"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, he can fully describe a murder in one rich sentence....Most of the stories deal with the darkest recesses of the human heart, and once you begin reading them you can't stop."―Donald Ray Pollock, New York Times Book Review

"An intense volume of fury and blood in the Ozarks, it crystallizes Woodrell's slicing wit and unflinching confrontation with criminality and tragedy."―Donna Seaman, Kansas City Star

"The Outlaw Album is a collection of stories by one of the world's great novelists, Daniel Woodrell, and it's brilliant."―Roddy Doyle, Guardian, "Books of the Year"

"A stunner. Woodrell has the rare ability to tell compelling stories rooted in familiar soil that are simultaneously simple and complex, local and universal, funny and tragic."―St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Best Books of 2011"

"Woodrell's prose is spare, even stern, yet capable of unexpected lyricism. Amid the rage, despair, and hatred his characters live with, he teases out and displays their deep stores of love and loyalty, and a surprisingly bracing humor."―Kate Tuttle, Boston Globe

"A writer whose words flow with the elemental power of Cormac McCarthy, William Gay, and Chris Offutt, he's chipped an impression of the Ozarks and its people in stone that will endure time....Let these stories be your Bible."―Chris Talbott, Associated Press

"The human desperation behind the violence is gripping. If anyone understands what motivates a man to keep shooting a corpse with a squirrel rifle, it's Woodrell."―Melissa Maerz, Entertainment Weekly

Praise for WINTER'S BONE:

"Woodrell's Old Testament prose and blunt vision have a chilly timelessness that suggests this novel will speak to readers as long as there are readers."―David Bowman, The New York Times Book Review

"Despite the roughness of the content, Woodrell has a poet's sense of how to turn a phrase. . . . Seek him out now, throw down fifteen bucks, and bend your face to the page. You'll come away as I do--darkly changed, begging for another."―Benjamin Percy, Esquire

"The lineage from Faulkner to Woodrell runs as deep and true as an Ozark stream in this book...his most profound and haunting work yet."―Denise Hamilton, Los Angeles Times Book Review

About the Author

Five of Daniel Woodrell's eight published novels were selected as New York Times Notable Books of the Year. Tomato Red won the PEN West Award for the Novel in 1999. Woodrell lives in the Ozarks near the Arkansas line with his wife, Katie Estill.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (October 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780316057561
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316057561
  • ASIN: 0316057568
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #304,803 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Pluck on October 19, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Daniel Woodrell has been called a regional writer. That's what we call writers who don't write about suburban Connecticut. It's insulting and dismissive, and I'd burn John Cheever's stories for light to read this collection by.
He writes with the artistic efficiency of poetry without artifice, and knows exactly where to begin and end a tale. The rage of class, the inequality that dare not speak its name, begins and ends this collection, perfect bookends for 12 tales of people who've lost something, and try to find what it was, how to get it back, or just how it was stolen from them.
I could have read this in an evening, but chose to savor them. They bring you to a place in the mind. I've never been to the Ozarks, and I may never visit outside of a national park, having read these tales, but I felt like I drove through, stopped for a slice of pie and chatted up a lifelong local who told me the tales of the town that form its mythology, giving me a sliver of understanding the strong bonds of family and place that define its people.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie Brody TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Daniel Woodrell is widely known for the movie adaptation of his novel, Winter's Bone, which won the Sundance Film Festival's Best Picture Prize in 2010. He has just published his first book of short stories, The Outlaw Album, a collection of twelve dark and riveting stories.

"Desperation - both material and psychological- motivates his characters." There is an element of moral decay and hopelessness to these stories, most taking place in the rural area of the Ozarks. I found a certain similarity in theme to the great writer, Donald Ray Pollock. Both writers attended the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

The Echo of Neighborly Bones is a haunting story of a man who murders his neighbor for killing his wife's dog. Once his neighbor is dead, he kills him over and over again in different ways - as though his anger cannot be assuaged.

I found Twin Forks to be the most powerful story in the collection. It begins, "A cradle won't hold my baby. My baby is two hundred pounds in a wheelchair and hard to push uphill but silent all the time. He can't talk since his head got hurt, which I did to him. I broke into his head with a mattocks and he hasn't said a thing to me nor nobody else since." The baby is the narrator's uncle, her mother's brother. He is a serial rapist who the narrator catches raping a coed in the barn. The narrator, too, has been a victim of her uncle's incestuous rapings. She beats his head in and then must care for him in his vegetative state. There comes a time when she realizes that even in a wheel chair and not talking, he remains evil.

Florianne is a haunting story of a man whose seventeen year-old daughter was kidnapped eleven years ago. His world is comprised of his trying to figure out who the kidnapper is.
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22 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Martin Zook on October 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Outlaw in this album is tantamount to outlier...for the most part.

Well, ok: There is the story of the guy who killed his neighbor, multiple times, and the 17 year old girl kidnapped while mowing a yard, and the jockey beat with 2 x 4s before being left on the railroad track, the guy who rode with Quantrill and Coleman Younger, and the guy who burned his neighbor's house down because it blocked his bed-ridden father's view of a river. So, yeah, these actions, and others Woodrell recounts here, technically are criminal activities, the actions of outlaws.

But each of these characters have been rooted in mainstream Ozark society. Good people. Good neighbors. Good parents. They became outlaws when they were pushed to the periphery of their world. It's important to recognize that while browsing through this album Woodrell presents these characters to us not just as people, but as characters in whose minds we're comfortable because of the beauty of Woodrell's prose, and because in a twisted way they react to the world in a way the reader accepts, even as there's a voice in the back of our mind shouting: no, no, no.

The stories are narrated from within the mind of either the subject, or someone close to the action described. Woodrell makes the reader quite comfortable in the minds of his characters. Shooting a neighbor because he shot your dog doesn't seem so outlandish. Nor does pushing a sexual predator to his death. I found myself wondering as I read: just how far removed are these characters from those of us living closer to the center of acceptable norms?

And as every good short writer should, Woodrell twists each story at the end.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By John Augsbury on December 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is some some of the finest writing coming out of America today. I read a lot and this is the only writer who I will finish reading a passage and it's like poetry and I read it aloud for my wife to enjoy. It is no nonsense writing and goes straight to your gut. Read one of Woodrell's books and you will be sold. Daniel please keep writing as you are great.
I will let other reviewers describe his work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Someone Else TOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Look at the cover art. What do you see? Barren landscape. Dead grass and dead trees beneath a darkening sky. When you look at the interior landscapes of Woodrell's characters, what will you see? About the same. Storms, bleakness, dead things.

Woodrell is a child of the Ozarks. He writes what he knows, and he writes it well. But after a handful of stories, he starts to sound like One-Note Johnny. He may play it on different instruments, but it's still the same note -- Ozark Dark.

Once you figure out it's never going to end well, you begin reading with mental breath bated. This seems like a nice little story...wonder when the girl's going to hack her mother's neck open with a meat cleaver... Which, I suppose, is the purpose of the genre.

Fans of the bleak and the noir have written laudatory reviews of this collection. If this is not your usual fare but you want to see what Woodrell can do, I'd steer you toward his novel, Winter's Bone. It showcases his writing chops and has more appeal for mainstream readers.
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