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; an injured rapist is cared for by a young girl, until she reaches her breaking point; a disturbed veteran of Iraq is murdered for his erratic behavior; an outsider's house is set on fire by an angry neighbor.
There is also the tenderness and loyalty of the vulnerable in these stories - between spouses, parents and children, siblings, and comrades in arms - which brings the troubled, sorely tested cast of characters to vivid, relatable life. And, as ever, "the music coming from Woodrell's banjo cannot be confused with the sounds of any other writer" (Donald Harington, Atlanta Journal Constitution).
©2011 Daniel Woodrell (P)2011 Hachette
These are well-crafted stories are about hard scrabble living. Every one is surprising and convincing. Only wish there were more.
I never read Woodrell before though I now realize he has written an number of successful novels, some of which have been made in to movies. He is a sharp, observant wrier in the tradition of Carver and Hemingway. The language and the characters tell their story. There is no need to embellish. His characters are striking and strong and his turns of phrase will knock you out. Already, I want to listen to the stories again. Why are there no more Woodrell stories on Audible. He is a rare treasure. Read these stores and you will hear for yourself.
I enjoy mostly historical fiction and non-fiction.
I can't really put my finger on it. Being from the Ozarks, I thought the stories might be very interesting. But, I made no connection with the characters and stopped listening about 1/3rd of the way through the book. Maybe Winter's Bone was enough of this type of story for me.
Except for seeing the movie "Winter's Bone" this was my first exposure to Daniel Woodrell. It will not be my last. I think he's incredible....all the short stories in this book are so well-written and some of them are so complex I think they could be expanded into novels. I will listen to these stories over and over and I will listen to more of Woodrell's books.
Like any book of short stories, there will always be some stories that are better than others. "Woe To Live On" and "The Horse In Our History" didn't do much for me, although they are well-written. My favorites were "Uncle" and "Dream Spot" and "Returning the River." There were two readers for these stories (one male, one female). They were good, except the guy used a weird accent when he was reading "Woe To Live On." This might be one reason why I didn't like this story so much.
Overall, very impressive stories and writing! Definitely worth a credit, even though it is a short book.
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