The Outlaw Album


Reviews of The Outlaw Album (1 review)

2 - Mixed Review

Reviewer:

I love Woodrell, but these short stories are fairly forgettable, for the most part. Like Winter's Bone, these stories have none of the humor I associate (rightly or wrongly) with Woodrell, from such works as the Bayou Trilogy, or my favorite, Tomato Red. The mood is unrelentingly stark, as we meet a cast of typically dour Ozarkers, including a guy who kills his "outsider" neighbor over not much of anything; a girl caring for her brain-damaged uncle (brain damage she inflicted on him, and rightly so); and an old man who fought with Quantrill's raiders and is having a bit of trouble adjusting to the 20th century. Mental illness seems to be a recurring theme, as few characters appear to be glued together just right. Best stories are "Uncle" and "The Black Step," but overall, I wouldn't recommend it. Short-story collections don't usually do it for me, as almost by definition, that format tends to leave the reader hanging, and this is no exception. Beyond that, the characters just don't seem to have much life to them. For the most part, they're like pen-and-ink drawings, compared to someone like Sammy Barlach from Tomato Red or Ree Dolly from Winter's Bone.