Some people may know this from the movie adaptation that starred Jennifer Lawrence. If you like the adaptation, read the book; the novel allows you to go so much deeper. As a fellow Ozarkian, I was first introduced to Woodrell in an Ozarks Literature course, and I’ve been in literary love ever since.
Woodrell has described his style of writing as “country noir”, though he now seems to be annoyed by the term, distancing himself from the term. Personally, I love the term and the idea behind it. Electric Lit describes the ‘new’ genre in their article “New Genres: Country Noir” : “Country noir carves out a space for the small, the local, the defiant and the defeated.”
I wonder if I love Woodrell so much because I, too, grew up in the Missouri Ozarks, and my sentimentality gets the best of me. I’m not the biggest fan of where I grew up, but that nostalgia still exists simply because I spent so much time there. I think it’s more than simply relating to Woodrell and the Ozark identifiers in his writing. There is an absolute honesty, almost to the point of morbidity, in his writing. I could also use that description to describe Frank O’Connor’s work, and I believe that connection is the root of my endearment. Plus, Woodrell is a phenomenal writer.
Okay, enough about me; let’s get to the good stuff.
The Independent has an article & interview with Woodrell from 2006, right before Winter’s Bone was published: “Daniel Woodrell: The Ozark Daredevil”. The interviewer does a wonderful job of describing the Ozarkian landscape, which will build you a fantastic foundation if you’ve never been to the Ozarks and have never read any of Woodrell’s works.
Guernica has an interview with Woodrell from 2013: “Southern Class: Dwyer Murphy interviews Daniel Woodrell“. You can really feel his hatred of “country noir” come into play in this one.
From the same year, NPR also interviewed him: ” ‘Winter’s Bone’ Author Revisits a Tragedy in his Ozarks Hometown”. This also has the audio from the radio bit.
And finally, here is an article about the movie adaptation from The New York Times: “Where Life is Cold and Kin are Cruel”.
Hopefully this post satisfies your Wednesday needs. If you have never read Woodrell, I strongly suggest it. And let me know what you think. I would very much enjoy a discussion on Woodrell.