1. Jon Deavers
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    Jon Deavers Member

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    Country Noir

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by Jon Deavers, Jan 8, 2013.

    I just finished reading "The Outlaw Album", a short story collection by Daniel Woodrell and loved it. Some stories worked better than others, but I was floored by a particularly gruesome account of a civil war veteran and his introspection as an elderly man.

    I saw the film based on Winter's Bone and also the recent film Lawless (a story that happened right down the road from me) and just started digging in to Cormac McCarthy's "Blood Meridian". I think I'm in love with the country noir genre and have even started dabbling with some short stories of my own.

    Wondering if anyone else has been enjoying the genre and what are some recommended reads?
     
  2. BUDDY GORGEOUS
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    BUDDY GORGEOUS Active Member

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    Hey JD. Without sounding corny in any way I'm really glad I've stumbled on your thread and found annother who has fallen in love with southern country noir. Ordered Daniel Woodrell 'Outlaw Album' from Amazon but I'm still waiting for it to arrive. Winter's Bone was the first book of his I had read and immediately went to sniff out the rest and not one book has let me down, love the guys writing.

    “Ree, brunette and sixteen, with milk skin and abrupt green eyes, stood bare-armed in a fluttering yellowed dress, face to the wind, her cheeks reddening as if smacked and smacked again.” Don't know about yourself but I thought they nailed the casting with the movie adaptation and got Ree spot on, just like what I pictured her in the book, a rare and great film.

    Are you reading any more Woodrell at the moment or have you found any other hidden gems?. Cormac McCarthy's 'Blood Meridian' blew me away, found myself re-reading sentences and passages because they were so brilliantly or beautifully crafted. Recently finished his books 'The Border trilogy' and 'Outer Dark' and felt the same. I remember recommending 'Blood Meridian' to a friend of mine who ready three pages and told me it was boring. How he didn't end up in hospital with book related bludgeoning injuries to the face I'll never know :p haha. Anyway, went to see Lawless in the cinema and thoroughly enjoyed it too. Amazing how it happened right down the road from you! does everyone where you live know of their story before the film brought it to a wider audience? whats it like to live where you are?

    Sorry for the questions. I live halfway around the world in Britain and can't help but be curious haha. My biggest influence is an author by the name of Tom Franklin who has written some beauties such as 'Crooked letter, crooked letter', 'Hell at the Breech', 'Smonk' and 'Poachers'. If my house was on fire I would grab his books from the bookcase before running out. William Gay is annother great author with books 'The long home', 'Twilight' (don't panic, there are no teen vampires anywhere in sight when reading), 'I hate to see that evening sun go down' and 'Provinces of night'. All of them are well worth your time, both authors are much like Daniel Woodrell. Slightly darker but oh so excellent are Donald Ray Pollock with 'Knock'em stiff' and 'The Devil all the time' which blew me away and Frank Bill's 'Crimes in southern Indiana' which I devoured in one sitting I couldn't put it down.

    Just trying to think of some more that are fantastic.... erm.... Wells Tower 'Everything ravaged everything burned' is great and James Lee Burke's 'White Doves at morning' about the american civil war but written by a true wordsmith. They are all I can think of at the moment but all are well worth your time I assure you. Hope these help amigo!
     
  3. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    If you like Blood Meridian, try No Country for Old Men.
     
  4. Jon Deavers
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    Jon Deavers Member

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    Hey Buddy. I picked up a collection of memoirs and fiction by a guy named Waverly Traylor from Barnes and Noble's website (only available in Nook book as far as I can tell) called Great Dismal Swamp in Myth and Legend. It's a pricey ebook and poorly laid out but full of great tales from a really wonderful part of this area. Lots of creepiness in the Dismal Swamp. It's more folk tales than it is narrative fiction but gives you a great portrait of this part of the country.

    Lawless took place about four hours west of me in Franklin county and I've been through there a couple times. The moonshining tradition is still alive and well out that way. It's pretty pervasive and generally accepted so most folks are very much aware of the "legends" of southwestern Virginia bootleggers.

    I totally agree with the appraisal of Winter's Bone. I haven't read the novel yet (thinking about going with Tomato Red for the next Woodrell novel but WB is on the to-read list) but the acting throughout that film was outstanding. Jennifer Lawrence was the only reason I saw the "Hunger Games" and ended up glad I did.

    Thanks for the recommendations. I ought to have enough to restock my Nook now. :) Send me a PM with your thoughts on the Outlaw Collection when you get through it. It has some interesting snubs online in review but I thought a couple of the stories were fantastic.
     
  5. Jon Deavers
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    Jon Deavers Member

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    Absolutely. I'm only a couple chapters into BM but the craftsmanship is evident and impressive. I think I'll be adding the whole back catalog to my to-read list.
     
  6. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Definitely read Winter's Bone. I thought it was pretty good.
     
  7. Jack Dawkins
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    Jack Dawkins Member

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    I too love Western fiction that is on the darker side. I have read all of Cormac McCarthy's novels. I might be able to pass on a few more suggestions;
    The Complete Western Stories of Elmore Leonard.
    Raylan by Elmore Leonard
    Ghost Town and Vendetta by Ed Gorman
    Ballad of the sad cafe by Carson McCullers...not necessarily western but southern and dark.
    Two western noir movies that I love are Clay Pidgens and Blood Simple and of course the TV series Justified based on the ElmoreLeonard book Raylan
     
  8. Jon Deavers
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    Jon Deavers Member

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    Good call. Elmore Leonard is definitely on the slate.

    Blood Simple is a Cohen brothers movie right?

    Thanks for the tips!
     

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