Monday, September 18, 2006

Daniel Woodrell in the NYTBR

Sam Tannenhaus and crew finally got around to reviewing Daniel Woodrell's fantastic book Winter's Bone in a review titled "Hillbilly Noir." I get the hillbilly thing (it's the Ozarks and that's what they are), but I don't understand the "noir." Some of Woodrell's previous books have read more like mysteries. I picked up my copy of the book out of the mystery new releases at my local independent. So, maybe noir applied to those, but I don't believe that a novel that is dark qualifies as noir simply because of that fact. I favor dark fiction, but I wouldn't be likely to pick up a book that was called noir.

Anyway, the reviewer David Bowman sums up:
The whole Ozark milieu is rendered so completely and expertly that Woodrell should consider changing the settings of his future novels, just as Cormac McCarthy gave up Tennessee for Mexico. Woodrell has brilliantly played out the hillbilly landscape — its weather, its wilderness, its lack of culture and its primitive tongue: grated Parmesan is “sprinkle cheese,” given names are “front names” and sanity is described as a condition in which one’s “parts are gathered.” His Old Testament prose and blunt vision have a chilly timelessness that suggests this novel will speak to readers as long as there are readers, and as long as violence is practiced more often than hope or language.
What would Michiko have said?

1 comment:

  1. Dan Woodrell is getting better with age as with any good product,it also shows that there is culture and talent in the Ozarks,his talent is very obvious.It just might not be apparent to those who cannot look beneath the veneer of shallow typecasting ,"stay the course" go deeper into the woods and tell us more about that mystical place called The Ozarks