Publisher: Little, Brown and Company, New York, 2011
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).