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The Outlaw Album: Stories

3.81  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,670 Ratings  ·  247 Reviews
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
Hardcover, 167 pages
Published October 5th 2011 by Little, Brown and Company (first published January 1st 2011)
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The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray PollockWinter's Bone by Daniel WoodrellKnockemstiff by Donald Ray PollockDry Bones in the Valley by Tom BoumanCrooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
Country Noir
41st out of 234 books — 184 voters
Winter's Bone by Daniel WoodrellBastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy AllisonCold Mountain by Charles FrazierThe Devil All the Time by Donald Ray PollockA Feast of Snakes by Harry Crews
Grit Lit
43rd out of 76 books — 27 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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the first two stories in this collection are perfect, to my mind. they are both revenge stories, where the revenge is played out in very original ways, which i do not wish to spoil here.

after that, the collection veers from its highs to its lows. many of these stories end right when they are starting to get interesting to me. this is what used to make me so frustrated with short stories as a form: i just want more. for example: florianne is about three pages long. and it is a fine short story,
Feb 09, 2012 Kemper rated it really liked it
Yet another thrilling installment of Kemper’s Bouchercon adventures:

I haven’t read a lot of Daniel Woodrell, but Winter’s Bone and Woe to Live On* had impressed me so much that I made a point to attend a panel that he was on along with Megan Abbott and some others regarding crime stories set in isolated or closed communities.

* (Woe to Live On was turned into a pretty good movie by Ang Lee called Ride With the Devil. Parts of that movie were filmed around the small Kansas town I grew up in, and I
May 05, 2015 Teresa rated it really liked it
I read this because I was taking a road trip through the Missouri Ozarks. When I choose this kind of reading for a trip, I'm looking for a sense of place. This collection has that, and great characters with unique voices too -- characters that, for the most part, don't like outsiders.

I didn't meet any of these characters. Not even when we stopped for lunch on a two-lane blue highway in a rural farming community in Missouri (population 1068, and seemingly declining). The overalled customer waiti
Richard Vialet
Jul 18, 2016 Richard Vialet rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Woodrell fans/completists
I enjoyed this story collection by respected author Daniel Woodrell but it unfortunately suffers from the thing that threatens to plague many collections: the stories might not be very consistent in quality. There were several tales that really stood out, will definitely appeal to fans of his work, and really encompassed the themes Woodrell tackles throughout the whole collection. "Florianne" and "Uncle," two great tales of rural revenge, as well as "Black Step" and "Night Stand," two stunning s ...more
Feb 09, 2012 Catie rated it really liked it
My library tried to trick me into not reading this by listing one of the narrators as the author, but it takes a lot more than that to fool this lady. Just look at that cover – dead trees, fallow fields, ominous clouds, frigid rivers, and a murder of crows. Of course I want to read this book!

Eight of these stories (out of twelve) have already been published in other sources but I hadn’t previously read any of them. These stories feature outlaws yes, but also victims, veterans, the lost, and the
Dec 31, 2011 Lou rated it it was amazing
These are stories of the darkness of the heart, in which he writes so well about. He has conjured up a motley crew of characters here, some you will find are brutal and dysfunctional. Immerse yourself in the bleak and black abyss as dark as sin itself. There is also tenderness and loyalty in these stories between husbands and wives, parents and children, brothers and sisters, and comrades in arms.
His prose is unique. Characters memorable.

The stories that stood out for me more for their darkness
Jul 14, 2016 Perry rated it liked it
Lyrically Haunting and Absorbing
Ozark Hillbilly Struggles 'n Sibling Snuggles, Haggles and Meth-Mouth Snaggles

3.4 stars

No author is better at showing the life of the white trash hillbilly clans living in the Ozarks, a highland region in northern Arkansas and southern Missouri.

This book of short stories is captivating and each story makes you want to come back for another hit. Woodrell is brilliant at consuming the reader with darkly atmospheric prose (nearly as well as McCarthy) to project the
Woodrell writes poetic prose about the people and the land known as the Ozarks, I've never been but I feel like I know it well enough to keep it off of my travel itinerary.

Twelve short pieces of literature with a distinct noir flavour, featuring harsh, brutal and criminal behaviour, told in a way that attempts to capture the simple beauty of even the most offensive strain of humanity. These stories feature plenty of murder, fear, compassion, loss and misunderstanding. Not for the feint of heart
Kirk Smith
For you Grit people out there, this is grit-with-ground-glass-in-it. For the noir(ists) this is hard-boiled. For the rest, this is hard core, cover your eyes.*** These are phenomenal short stories that must have been a Woodrell writing exercise to practice SHOCK VALUE. The flawless writing lures the reader into dark rooms and unsavory places. Curiosity might not be your best ally on this one. No one with weak stomachs or overwhelming gag reflexes should pursue this.

I know Daniel Woodrell can write -- his pen is his sword and he wields it with deathly and thrilling precision. Nowhere is that on display more than with his novel Winter's Bone which left me breathless and humbled and panting for more. The story of young Ree and her perilous hunt for her missing meth-making father is one of rage and pain and beauty, and knocked me flat I loved it so much. It instantly made it onto my all time favorites list. With this collection of mostly very short stories, Wo
James Thane
Jul 18, 2012 James Thane rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
This slim volume is a collection of short stories by the author best known for his novel, Winter's Bone. As in most of Woodrell's work, the people in these stories are rural characters. Most of them are vulnerable and wounded. Some of them are very sympathetic; others are repellant, but they are all virtually unforgettable. Woodrell writes beautifully about the people and the land that he obviously knows and loves. The only problem with this book is that it is not at least three times as long.
Oct 08, 2011 Ed rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: crime/noir fiction with literary flavor
Recommended to Ed by: long time fan of author
This slim volume of a dozen stories should appeal to the fans of literary fiction with a decidedly noirish twist and rural flavor. My favorite was "Nightstand," a tale about two generations of veterans from their different wars who share the same primal, raw feelings. Like in most of the stories, there's physical violence and spilled blood. Mr. Woodrell has a unique, distinctive voice which I believe really shines in the historical short story, "Woe to Live On," about a Confederate bushwhacker w ...more
An enjoyable collection of short stories I've been dipping in to over the past week. They felt familiar yet new and it wasn't until I finished that I realised that it wasn't just because of the author or the style or the mileau that I've read before but that I'd actually read this book before. I can't say whether that's a positive for the writing or not, or if I'm just losing it a little bit, or what, but it certainly can't hurt for a book to feel comfortable and enjoyable, if not truly memorabl ...more
Jul 29, 2013 El rated it really liked it
One of my complaints (or the biggest complaint) I had while reading Tomato Red was that the story and the characters felt too familiar to me, and I didn't care for that. It's nothing against Woodrell. In fact, I could tell that I would like Woodrell - his writing really is hypnotic in a strangely complex minimalist way. I'm slowly making my way through his writing because I have a feeling reading too much of it at one time, being immersed in the Ozarks life again, could be not such a great thing ...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
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
Jul 08, 2013 Faye rated it really liked it
Okay, so... I never thought I would read a book of short stories about murderers, rapists, thieves, and/or the victims who are seeking revenge on their murderers, rapists, and thieves, let alone ENJOY said book, but I did and... I did. I don't even know, man. I don't even KNOW. Most of it was kind of disturbing, but it was oddly compelling at the same time. There were a few images that I really didn't need stuck in my head forever, but mostly... yeah, I enjoyed it. Weird!
Benoit Lelievre
Oct 20, 2011 Benoit Lelievre rated it it was amazing
It's quite stunning how much better Daniel Woodrell gets with every book. In The Outlaw Album he's thinner, leaner and meaner than he ever was. His stories talk about the Ozark Mountains, but resonate of so many universal themes that it speaks to every single one of us. He's right up there with Cormac McCarthy as one of the best language virtuosos that write in English. Truly amazing.
Nov 11, 2011 Tony rated it really liked it
60. THE OUTLAW ALBUM. (2011). Daniel Woodrell. ****.
This is a compilation of twelve short stories – some very short – that previously appeared in various periodicals and anthologies. One of the stories is pulled from his novel, “Woe to Live On.” It doesn’t matter where they came from, it is to our advantage to have them all in one place. Woodrell is an American writer that has few equals in portraying the lives of a class of people who have different moral and ethical standards; people that we
Lise Petrauskas
Woodrell's story-telling is skilled and persuasive. I enjoyed reading these stories that were sometimes like overheard conversations, survivors telling their stories of death, grudge, mental illness and disorientation. Several are of traumatized veterans of wars ranging from the civil war to the current war in Afghanistan. Murder, arson, and reckless stupidity claim lives. Land and water issues, substance abuse, sexual and physical abuse are at the heart of others. What they have in common is th ...more
Daniel Woodrell is an author gifted with extraordinary descriptive talents and an imagination so dark and murky I would not want to go wading through too deeply lest I end up a meal for the alligators and snakes that surely flourish in such conditions. It shouldn't be as easy as it is for him to call to life the haunting beauty of the forests and rivers of wild Appalachia while at the same time people it with characters for whom complete and spontaneous violent outbursts are always an acceptable ...more
Deep woods Ozarks hold a people and a morality not readily known to civilization as we know it in the greater world! There's a lawlessness and a psychosis that is such that only the people who live there or were born there are privy to, or dare to venture in amongst.

Daniel Woodrell, famous for the recent movie taken from his award-winning book "Winter's Bone," doesn't hesitate one sentence to shock and horrify the reader with his guts-'n-grit writing about the Ozark characters that populate his
Mar 27, 2016 Melissa rated it really liked it
The Guardian begins their review of "The Outlaw Album: Stories" with the line "Daniel Woodrell must be tired of being described as the best American writer no one has heard of...". I couldn't agree more. His novel "Winter's Bone" didn't win a single award and was not well-known until it was made into a film starring Jennifer Lawrence. The movie won awards and people bought the book. But even though the book sold, there are still on only 455 reviews on Amazon for that book currently. His novel th ...more
Nicola Mansfield
Jan 19, 2014 Nicola Mansfield rated it liked it
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 tha ...more
I loved Winter's Bone and I really want to read one of his Civil War books - either Ride With the Devil orWoe To Live On - but these short stories were so consistently depressing that I just couldn't finish them. I know three stars means "I liked it," and frankly I didn't like this - but the writing is so strong that I couldn't give it anything less. Woodrell is a consistently excellent writer and these short stories let him explore a variety of styles and voices, but while I'm okay reading abou ...more
RB Love
Jan 03, 2012 RB Love rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-read-2012
Woodrell is the best writer going. I was so stoked to see this book on the shelf that I bought it at a used bookstore, when it was brand new and I paid full price without hesitation. Not since Thom Jones came and went has there been a more thunderous and subversive voice in the landscape of my readings. Woodrell's use of language reminds me of my grandpa's Mississippi renderings, if my grandpa were willing to come forth with all the darkness southern upbringings dragged through foriegn wars and ...more
Nov 16, 2011 Chad rated it really liked it
This book was brutal. Not necessarily in a bad way, either. I was hooked once I got through the first story, and read half of this slim book in my first sitting. The collection of characters are some of the more terrifying cast members in recent memory. They're largely uneducated, but in no way unintelligent. These Ozark mountain people seem to be the silent, brooding types that have more going on inside than shows on the outside.

Wodrell takes us through several bloody and uncomfortable tales th
Aaron Poorman
Jan 16, 2012 Aaron Poorman rated it it was amazing
Shelves: subliminalmaybe
There are so few perfect sentences in literature. As a poet I'm reminded of this fact often enough, which is perhaps why I've long thought that brevity is best when making an attempt at perfection. There is something extra special about being able to put weight and impact into a single line of prose ; a line that could stand on its own as poetry, or in song. With Daniel Woodrell's collection of short stories, The Outlaw Album, he shows a rare ability to do this rather frequently. His sentences s ...more
Apr 08, 2012 Nicole rated it it was amazing
Having enjoyed Winter's Bone and having some further interest in the Ozarks (I was born around there, though we didn't stay long enough for me to remember it), I picked up this slim volume of stories. After two or three, I took an annoyed break - Woodrell seemed like a one-trick pony - good with words, but too reliant on darkness/violence as a force for moving the story forward. As a reader, I am as bloodthirsty as they come - I just hate when an honest, enjoyable bit of the ol' ultraviolence is ...more
May 09, 2012 Caitlin rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
Daniel Woodrell became one of my favorite writers when I discovered Winter's Bone, a book that has a place in my top 10 favorite books. His stories are sly, brutally honest, removed from redneck stereotype - firmly rooted in a particular kind of reality. He also writes beautifully. Winter's Bone is a book that made me ache the first time I read and did so again after I finished it and read it all over a second time.

The Outlaw Album is a book of short stories - capsulized moments of revenge, of w
Cheyenne Blue
May 28, 2013 Cheyenne Blue rated it really liked it
The Ozark Tourist Board must hate Daniel Woodrell. The stories in this collection are all set in the those mountains, and they don't paint a picture of a happy holiday destination.

Dark, bleak stories of poverty, revenge, death, and desperate characters. Woodrell's style is sparse and cutting, with every word in a sentence precisely placed for perfection. If anything, he underwrites, so the reader sometimes has to work for the meaning, but that doesn't detract from this fine collection.

For me, th
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