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Give Us a Kiss

3.95  ·  Rating Details  ·  975 Ratings  ·  109 Reviews
"My imagination is always skulking about in a wrong place."

And now Doyle Redmond, a thirty-five-year-old nowhere writer, has crossed the line between imagination and real, live trouble. On the lam is his soon-to-be-ex-wife's Volvo, he's running a family errand back in his boyhood home of West Table, Missouri -- the bloody heart of the red-dirt Ozarks. The law wants his bi
Paperback, 240 pages
Published December 19th 1996 by Not Avail (first published 1996)
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Dec 31, 2010 Greg rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
End of the year book report time.

While crowds of people pack themselves into Times Square a couple of miles due west from me I'll give some thoughts on this particular book.

I expected to love this. After Karen's glowing review of Winter's Bone. Instead of being blown away by this book I was just kind of eh about it. I just realized I only gave this three stars while giving the last couple of Crumley books I read four stars. I liked this about as much as the Crumley novels though, but I don't fe
Apr 07, 2016 Karl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This hardcover copy is signed by Daniel Woodrell.
Kirk Smith
Jun 12, 2016 Kirk Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Woodrell writes some of the most X-treme stories! He pleases me in the way only a Harry Crews or a Larry Brown might. And best of all he knows his sh*t. Nothing worse than Ivy League authors phony details about weapons or drugs or sex in lesser books. I've seen those flaws a thousand times by others, but never by Woodrell!! This entertained so well, I read it in one day!
Jul 22, 2014 RandomAnthony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-noir
I read Give Us a Kiss maybe four, five years ago and never got around to a review. A few weeks back I listened to the audiobook version on ten hour drives back and forth from Wisconsin to western New York. I'm glad I did. While I struggled with the narrator's vocalization of female characters (he sounded like a heterosexual guy pretending to be a drag queen), this novel was perfect road trip fodder.

In Give Us a Kiss Woodrell grabs cliches and shakes the living shit out of them. He owns the Ozar
Aug 30, 2009 Johnny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great read. This is the first book I've read by Woodrell, but I'm definitely going to run out and find a few more. He stakes claim to the Ozarks with force and in my mind, when it comes to crime fiction, he now owns them.

While I enjoy crime novels set in cities, it is a rare treat to read a novel set in a rural setting that is both authentic and well-written. A novel that doesn't slum, but embraces the inhabitants of the small town.

This book made me almost glad that I caught a head cold, as it
William Thomas
I've made it extremely clear over the years that I love love love plain speech in first-person narratives and dialogue. I love regional speech, vernacular, local color. It makes the writing so much more meaningful, so much more real and true. So I thought I was going to find another master of that style, like Joe R Lansdale, in Daniel Woodrell. Unfortunately, I wasn't all that smitten by what turned out to be a pretty self-indulgent love letter to himself.

This probably shouldn't have been the f
Jun 02, 2012 Karyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
My dear pal Al just sent me this book, and I read it from cover to cover in a single day. It's a quick, easy read--really short chapters help create a quick pace, and also add to the tension and suspense. The novel follows a writer, Doyle, on his journey back home to the Ozarks. He's been sent to find his brother, who's on the lam, and he's driving a car that has technically been stolen. So trouble quickly ensues. The book is narrated in the first person, and I absolutely love the narrative voic ...more
Joan Colby
Mar 30, 2011 Joan Colby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
DanielWoodrell is a hell of a writer. I came across his work when the film “Winter’s Bone” was released and he was identified as the author of the book on which it is based. E. Annie Proulx blurbed on this earlier book, describing Woodrell as a “Ladystinger of a writer”. A ladystinger as his readers will discover is a 32 revolver. In “Give Me A Kiss” the protagonist Doyle seems semi-autobiographical; an Ozark boy who attained a college education and has become a published but largely unread writ ...more
Sep 25, 2015 Charles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Given what I know (not a lot) and what I think I know, this story reads like it's filled with factionalized versions of some of Woodrell's life experiences. Doyle Redmond, a crime writer, returns to the Ozarks, talked into helping with a pot crop, kills a member of a family long the enemy of the Redmonds, and falls in love with the teenage daughter of his brothers girlfriend.
Written as a kind of wild a wooly tall tale told to drunken friends it's hard to take seriously. It has one of the most
Jan 04, 2011 Casey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Published in 1996, Give us a Kiss was Daniel Woodrell's fifth novel, and his first (I believe) to take place in and around the Missouri Ozarks. Like Tomato Red, the first person voice really drives this loosely semi-autobiographical novel. The narrator, Doyle, is a writer (whose life and past resembles that of Woodrell) who has written a few crime novels and has come back from living in California. His parents, who live in Kansas City but are from the fictional town of West Plain, Missouri (a st ...more
Sep 19, 2012 wally rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: woodrell
this will be the...5th or 6th from woodrell for

begins w/a quote from marilyn monroe: all we demanded was our right to twinkle.

and before that, 'this novel is dedicated to three ladies whose support made it happen" marian wood, ellen levine, and deborah sweet

"and to the memory of my father robert lee woodrell"

and then there/s this from his jazzy eulogy
and he saieth, "let the trumpets and the saxophones swing, man, swing!"

and grandfather pedro (peed-drow) daily "now, if a fella only k
Feb 11, 2013 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Daniel Woodrell's writing! His "hillbillies behaving badly" stories really strike a cord with me. Woodrell loves the Ozarks, "Ozark mountains seem to hunker instead of tower, and they are plenty rugged but without much of the majestic left in them". His characters are hard living, hard drinking, tough and independent. They don't have much use for rules or the law. But family is everything. If you are kin you can always rely on family to help you out. And as Doyle, the university educated ...more
ABC Group
Nov 11, 2012 ABC Group rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first exposure to Woodrell was Tomato Red, which quite possibly has the best opening paragraph to any book I've ever read. This set the tone for my expectations with Woodrll and Give Us a Kiss is written along those same lines, but is certain a better overall read.

Set in the Ozarks, Doyle Redmond goes home to see his folks and then is sent on a task to find his brother, a dope growing local criminal with an affinity for danger and loose women. Doyle is in the middle of a divorce and trying to
May 30, 2007 Holly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I so enjoyed Winter's Bone (see review here), that I set out to read another Woodrell forthwith. In Give Us A Kiss: A Country Noir, Doyle Redmond, a published but unknown author, leaves California in a Volvo stolen from his unfaithful wife, to return to his native Missouri. He sees his parents who dispatch him to find his brother, Smoke, and to convince him to turn himself in on outstanding arrest warrants in Kansas City. Doyle finds Smoke deep in the woods near their hometown of West Table, in ...more
Phil Overeem
Jun 07, 2016 Phil Overeem rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every Missourian ought to be required to read a Woodrell. I've read most of his "Ozarks noir" novels and never been let down; it's hard to pick the best. I will say that this one, with all of the usual elements (a detailed picture of the West Plains area, dialogue a Missourian will recognize, a grappling with adulthood and family heritage, total command of the narrative), is the funniest and pithiest. If you don't know who Woodrell is, fix that, but--he wrote WINTER'S BONE. Not the best of the l ...more
Dec 20, 2010 Andy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This reminded me of Barry Gifford novels where the plot’s almost secondary to the quirky characters and their even quirkier anecdotes. These little tales kept interrupting the story in an A.D.D. mode, like the writer had trouble focusing on his story. “Give Us A Kiss” is a sort of modern Hatfields versus McCoys tale about kinfolk feudin’ over a mighty powerful merrywanna crop. I found the idea of folks killing each other over weed ridiculous until I read in the paper that “medical” marijuana sho ...more
Apr 16, 2016 Melissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Daniel Woodrell blows up genre the way that Doyle Redwood obliterates cow patties during a round of cow patty golf. This novel is a tragicomedy on par with Shakespeare's work if Shakespeare would have been a Ozarkian with a weed crop behind the Globe Theatre. Brilliantly gritty and darkly comic. A must read!
Katy Brandes
Feb 27, 2012 Katy Brandes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: country-noir
Another great country noir by Woodrell. He builds the suspense and has you rooting for the characters whether you like them or not. Although his depiction of the Ozarks shows only a portion of it, that is a seedy underside of the population a reader hopes to only ever experience on the page. Woodrell's rich descriptions capture a colorful cultural history here, some of which is still lived in this region. You can experience the indulgence and danger vicariously though his wild tales, as he does ...more
Mar 01, 2010 Adam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: black-comedy, noir
A lighter more humorous book from Woodrell. This ends with a comic touch rather than tragic. I think this suffers in comparison Death of Sweet Mister and Woe to Live On (which are also quite funny) though the construction is just as good. But you can’t put up that much darkness every time so here is to writing with nuance and variety. A tale of family and criminality and I think the main character is Woodrell poking a little fun at himself.
Ned Mozier
Feb 08, 2014 Ned Mozier rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The most autobiographical novel yet of Woodrell, almost like Doyle is he. The story moves quickly and gets the Ozark mentality and history down to the language and the mindset of the characters. The old grandpa is great. This book has a lot of sex, drug use and violence, but the dialogue is sharp and the hardboiled characters a bit like true crime. Not the best Woodrell, but he's better than most on his worst day. Woth reading.
Jul 17, 2014 Claire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
Quick, easy summer read. Subject matter not the best...bad behavior and the Ozarks,I probably don't need to say more. Surprisingly well written, even down to his description of poor kids; "these wild kids are reared on baloney and navy beans, corn mush and Kool-Aid...their lips are circled by orange or red or green juice stains and their knees and elbows generally have scabs on them from two or three scrapes at recess. All they ever know is that they want, and someday they'll learn you got, and ...more
Nicola Mansfield
With the reading of this book, I have now completed Daniel Woodrell's backlist of novels. This is my least favourite of his books. Even though Woodrell has written several different genres and no two of his books ever follow a template, I found the narrator of Give Us a Kiss different than his other books and just couldn't get as comfortable with him. It's not that I didn't like him, and I don't have to like characters to like a book, but Doyle Redmond is a homegrown Ozarks inhabitant who had th ...more
Jim Ainsworth
Jan 08, 2014 Jim Ainsworth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After Winter’s Bone, I became a Woodrell fan. I read Give us a Kiss almost immediately after Winter’s Bone, and found it another excellent work, but a little too underbelly for my current tastes. I prefer character driven novels and definitely like my characters served up well-done, believable, strong and weak, happy and sad . . . well, you get the point. Also, I have an affinity for the mountain folk that populate Woodrell’s work.

I also like dark books. But dark can come in a variety of shades
May 30, 2013 Natalie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is my second Daniel Woodrell book (third story, though, since I've seen--and loved--the movie Winter's Bone). I'm beginning to realize that maybe I want to like him more than what I actually do.

I thought I would fall in love with this writer, but what I'm finding is inconsistency of voice and, at least in the case of this book and The Death of Sweet Mister, a cast of characters so unlikable that there is no one to grab on to. I think there were some interesting ideas brought up in Give Us
His second book (following nearly a decade his first), it displays the early development of his style and interests, that of the rough world of the hillbilly Ozarks and the tough people who occupy them, but it is still a fun book. A bit raw, it nonetheless grabs you and carries you along, and you like the rascal characters, especially the protagonist Doyle Redmond, a writer on domestic rebound, sucked back into the criminal doings of his elder brother and his crowd, lusting after a young souther ...more
Jan McNutt
A gritty Southern drama that is a little over the top on violence - like the Hatfields & the McCoys. I guess that stuff happens in them backwoods.

Doyle Redmond, the main character, is the smart one of the bunch and left Missouri to be a writer after high school. With a handful of rarely read novels under his belt he leaves Los Angeles to check on his brother and the trouble he's been avoiding for years. Back home, all hell breaks loose with fighting, shooting, family fights, rivalries betwee
Dec 22, 2011 Nick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
Ozark Noir seems to be a category that Woodrell has cornered, and it's a good moniker for this novel of atmosphere. Yes, there is a plot that simmers along and comes to a violent and ironic end. Yes, there is a war between clans back in the Missouri countryside. But the driver for me is the revelation of character, specifically the narrator, presumably somewhat autobiographical, of a would-be writer who returns to his roots of violence and crime, having escaped to quasi-academia via the marine c ...more
Paula Maguire
Although quite entertaining, ultimately this was a disappointing book from the author of 'Winter's Bone'. It was a light hearted attempt at southern gothic and there wasn't enough gothic for me. However the characters were engaging, language and imagery enjoyable, but it fell between two stools for me. Not enough menace for a real crime thriller, and not funny enough for a caper nove.
Downloaded this audio book and it was quite entertaining. I could see this made into a Quentin Tarrentino movie. With all the out of control antics of this wacked out family. Comedy of several errors laced with narcotics and anything goes with these back wood hillbillies bring things to a deadly end, well for a few that had it coming.....
Jan 23, 2014 Jayne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Give Us A Kiss really captured the 'Redneck, backwoods families'. I wasn't sure where the book was leading me, but I certainly enjoyed the ride.
Daniel Woodrell is a very visual writer. I could feel and see myself in the pea green volvo flying over rocks, brush and what ever else was in the way. By the end of the book, I truly felt as if I was one of the 'ancestors' on the wall in Panda's house, just watching the family carry on.
Doyle certainly found his hook.
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Growing up in Missouri, seventy miles downriver from Hannibal, Mark Twain was handed to me early on, first or second grade, and captivated me for years, and forever, I reckon. Robert Louis Stevenson had his seasons with me just before my teens and I love him yet. There are too many others to mention, I suppose, but feel compelled to bring up Hemingway, James Agee, Flannery O'Connor, John McGahern, ...more
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