Wednesday, October 19, 2011
The Outlaw Album: Stories by Daniel Woodrell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
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.
An excellent collection by a master of the short story.
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