Writers pegged as "regional" are a lot like character actors: both can become wedged so tightly into one hole they can never be taken seriously elsewhere. Of course, this isn't always a negative. Faulkner is largely considered a regional novelist, a Nobel laureate who created a whole oeuvre built around a mythical world known as Yoknapatawpha, based on the area surrounding his native Oxford, Mississippi. Likewise, most of Daniel Woodrell's stories are set in his native land: the Ozarks, a little Appalachia-esque microcosm plunked down in southeastern Missouri, where the author grew up and chose to stay.
The stories collected in The Outlaw Album are diverse in plot but unified by several themes, the most pervasive being the often twisted nature of family relationships and the horrible aftereffects of war, the indelible stamp it leaves on the psyche of those who've survived it. Woodrell...
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