RB Love's Reviews > The Outlaw Album: Stories

The Outlaw Album by Daniel Woodrell
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's review
Jan 03, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: books-read-2012
Read in January, 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 brought back home have made.
A collection of short stories of 167 pages I made short work of in a few scattered hours with a juice that don't normally flow for readin', I had read "Twin Forks" and "Night Stand" before as I am a committed disciple of the Esquire Magazine. But "Uncle" and "Black Step" will strike a nerve in you like a tuning fork on fillings. Then the language, the brutal beauty of the Ozark/Missouri descriptions, dialogue and punch lines of "Two Things" and "The Horse in Our History" kick in with a swell I can only account for as delicious.
"Them days, boy, furniture'd really start a-fallin' of a Saturday night over on [the] Hill, there. Somebody'd a-get to fussin' with somebody else 'til furniture started flyin' and a-fallin', and that fussin'd go on and on 'til the makin' up started, which was usually louder." pg. 98.
"He wasn't much higher'n a belt buckle, but he was stronger'n Limburger cheese." pg. 103
But the bird Mister McCoy. The bird is soaring over death which is an old car wreck. The poet is wanting to be that white bird winging it free above death. What it really signifies is that Cecil wants to be let off from having to die. That is the point of it she says.
Now to me this point is obvious but I feel sad for a second about Cecil. Two things he never going to be is a white bird. pg. 88
I can only hope that this collection of short stories has been fed to us in order to stave us off a little while longer before Woodrell's next novel comes out. In the meantime, I hope they keep making attempts as turning his other novels into movies with as admirable effort as last year's Winter's Bone turned out to be.
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