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The Outlaw Album

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  2,106 ratings  ·  290 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
Hardcover, 167 pages
Published October 5th 2011 by Little, Brown and Company
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The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray PollockWinter's Bone by Daniel WoodrellKnockemstiff by Donald Ray PollockCrooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom FranklinDry Bones in the Valley by Tom Bouman
Country Noir
296 books — 256 voters
The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray PollockBastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy AllisonBefore Familiar Woods by Ian PisarcikWinter's Bone by Daniel WoodrellThe Heavenly Table by Donald Ray Pollock
Grit Lit
102 books — 62 voters

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Average rating 3.81  · 
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 ·  2,106 ratings  ·  290 reviews

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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 06, 2012 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
Sep 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Lyrically Haunting and Absorbing Shorts
Gas, Grass or Ass. Nobody Rides for Free

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. Each successive story makes you want to come back for another. Woodrell brilliantly consumes the reader with darkly atmospheric prose (think, McCarthy without the loquacity) to project the fear one must suffer living am
May 05, 2015 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
Oct 27, 2011 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
Jul 18, 2016 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
Oct 25, 2011 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
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
James Thane
Jul 18, 2012 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. ...more

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
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.
Sep 02, 2011 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
Jul 28, 2013 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
Apr 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a collection of stories! All of them pack a punch of humanity through crackling prose and surprises. Woodrell's writing is an absolute joy to read as his affection for the Ozarks rings passionately genuine from story to story. In my opinion, he is what you call a "writer's writer."

If only there were volumes of these stories...
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
Sep 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(3.5) Based on the first six stories, I was planning a 5-star rating. (How can you resist this opening line? “Once Boshell finally killed his neighbor he couldn’t seem to quit killing him.”) But the second half of the book ended up being much less memorable; I wouldn’t say it wasn’t worth reading, but I got very little out of four of the stories, and the other two were okay but somewhat insubstantial. By contrast, the first two stories, “The Echo of Neighborly Bones” and “Uncle,” are gritty litt ...more
Jeanette (Again)
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
Nick Younker
Mar 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although not all these stories were my taste, the skills and prose of Daniel Woodrell was a genuine delight. Don't get me wrong, there were some kick ass stories in this collection, especially the opener!

Anyone considering this collection should preview the first story on your Kindle or PC. It's a gem!
Jul 07, 2013 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 Lelièvre
Oct 17, 2011 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.
Mar 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Many little gems here that remind me of Donald Ray Pollack.
Sara Judy
Jul 23, 2017 rated it liked it
I enjoyed 'Outlaw Album,' but sometimes felt the characters were slightly forced, or the violence and poverty unrealistically heightened for dramatic effect.
Nov 06, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Nov 23, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The Outlaw Album is a collection of short stories by one of my favorite authors in Daniel Woodrell. The vast majority are very short (5 to 10 pages) and in some instances this is too short, but the length generally works.

The Echo of Neighborly Bone is a tale of a deranged and violent individual in a rural setting who becomes a serial killer of one. murdering his neighbor time and time ago. The ending was a little of for me, and threw the story making it not feel complete.

One of my favorites, Un
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
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
Feb 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: noir, short-stories
i've read a lot of woodrell's books. these well put together stories fall in to his world nicely. rocky soil, pissed off and trapped men, available but techy women, dogs, horses, and deer all set for a short life. when in doubt, stomp off into the woods, creep around the ranch in the dark, drink or puff, then SHOOT. you notice, he never talks about outhouses though?
Jerry Peace
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
First, three quotes, so you see what great writing is about. "Somehow my clothes come off, drop to the floor, first frost stripping a tree of its last clinging leaves." "A big moon cut shadows from everything and flung them around." "My knife turned in patterns I could not foresee, and something I did not expect would come of it. The worst and best in this life are that way." And the stories. "Twin Forks" could be about me and I'm not sure if I like that so much but there it is. "Two Things" sca ...more
Aaron Poorman
Sep 08, 2011 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
Nov 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Dark stories with no happy endings, beautifully written and a treat to read.
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