Kate's Reviews > The Outlaw Album: Stories

The Outlaw Album by Daniel Woodrell
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's review
May 23, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: 2012, fiction, own-currently, shortfiction
Read from May 23 to July 15, 2012

Southern Gothic fiction -- and I'm thinking now also of the stage play-cum-film "Killer Joe" -- is fascinating in part because it's so hard to tell if it is "good". As in, is it art/literary. (I would also add the qualification "moral" in the sense that John Gardner uses it.) If a book is beautifully written, as this is, or a movie beautifully directed and acted, as Killer Joe is, but is really just delicious nastiness without redemption... can it be high art? Dennis Lehane and GIllian Flynn, whom I'd consider literary thriller writers, also have some nasty pieces. If you can't discern the meaning of a text, is this a disservice to the reader? Does it count as meaning if the author intended the meaning to be obscured (the meaning is to look for meaning where there isn't any)? If I'm thinking about something and asking all these questions after reading it, is that its value? I suppose it's a matter of opinion, one that comes down to: are you entertained or at least intregued by translucently gleeful depictions of violence, as long as they are skillfully rendered? I can't deny that I am, and so I enjoyed The Outlaw Album.

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Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Skyqueen Interesting that you link Killer Joe to The Outlaw Album. I had just read/seen them in relative closeness and hadn't made the connection. But, yeah, you are right! I think in part since critics were portraying Killer Joe as more of a comedy noir, which you can definitely take it that way also.

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