Monday, February 2, 2009


War!huh! Good gawd, yall, what is it good for? - Great fiction. Daniel Woodrell has produced three short pieces in the last year dealing with war, the marine corps and difficulty of re-entering civilian life. Nightstand, (Esquire magazine June issue), is about a former marine who kills a man he finds invading his home and the complicated connection he finds he shares with his victim. The Black Step, (New Letters magazine vol. 74 no. 4), follows a young soldier home from the Middle East where he nurses his own mental health, takes care of his mother and goes through the motions of a relationship with a divorcee "who has chosen me to be the man she needs" (this one has a simply devastating ending). The current issue of Narrative Magazine online features a new story, Shitbird, about a 17 year old marine on the island of Guam, in 1971 who is amused with marine life, the "farcical orders" and "absurd obedience" and gets lost in the jungle, high on acid and maybe comes upon the last Japanese soldier still fighting WWII. Shitbird is a fresh stab at a story that's been percolating for at least five years, (see Amnesty Barracks, another short story dealing with the Guam crew from New Letters magazine vol. 69 nos. 2&3 2003) and could have the makings of a novel. A damn fine novel. More good news for Woodrell fans: Winter's Bone - the movie - is set to be filmed in the Ozarks in the next several weeks, Debra Granik, the writer/director of Down to the Bone, (the film Martin Scorcese saw and said get me that Vera Farmiga woman for The Departed - what is it with this director and "Bone" movies anyhow?), is helming with Deadwood co-stars, Garrett Dillahunt and John Hawkes, (as Teardrop) rumored to be involved. Hopefully, a great film will be made and the Woodrell canon will come back into print. Mean time, enjoy the jarhead stories and pray they keep coming.


Gordon Harries said...

God, I love Woodrell.

and yeah, let's hope for a good film because 'Ride With The Devil'? wasen't it.

Unknown said...

Thanks for dropping the line on the new Woodrell story. I've spent the past year tracking down Woodrell's catalog and I can't get enough of the guy.
And come on, Gordon, Ride with the Devil wasn't all that bad

Anonymous said...

I took note that Narrative came out with a "thrillers" edition ... It's like they're treating it like "open pool swim" -- a controlled period of time in which things get crazy before they go back to the reserved and refined "adult swim."

jedidiah ayres said...

I think it's funny it took the "Thriller" edition to get Woodrell published in Narrative. I've read all the books and every story I could find - haven't found a thriller among them. Not complaining though. I'm happy for a new one. Good for Narrative.

Gordon Harries said...


I think by Woodrell’s own admission the first few books were an attempt to ‘do genre’.

but yeah both Woodrell and Corbett (who are the two of the four featured writers I know) screw more toward the literary end of crime fiction, where as I would think of something slightly less considered as a thriller.


No, you’re quite correct: it wasn’t awful. (not like ‘Young Guns’. that was my favorite film when I was 16. I watched it again recently and gah.) it’s just not as good as it could have been. But then, that’s what get’s my goat about MOST movies!