Two Paragraphs that Prove the Awesomeness of Daniel Woodrell

The first two chapters of Chapter 6, from Daniel Woodrell‘s Tomato Red:

Venus Holler was the most low-life part of town, so I already knew where it was. I stalled until late afternoon before I let myself drive down there. I felt instantly at home.

What I came to know: Venus Holler as a name was one of those cruel country jokes that sticks. It was a holler of small, square homes that leaned sideways a bit like a bunch of drunks who can’t quite hear each other. The holler naturally lay across the tracks from the decent citizens of West Table, but so barely across the tracks that trains made these joints quiver. If a train passed at breakfast time, all the eggs ended up scrambled. There was an awful chunky road through the holler, a road that had been paved out of pity once back in the bygones but had busted up over the years and lain unrepaired and become forever rugged. The houses have their roofs pulled down low over the front stoops, like hats worn at a sulky angle over hungry stubbled faces. Back in the heydays this was where the whores all had to live, the whores who serviced all the cattlemen and pig farmers who shipped their stock from West Table and went on toots during their visits, as well as the local lovelorn. The name got to be Venus Holler, I’m told, precisely because a goddess is the very last dame you’d ever expect to find there — but if you ever did, for three bucks you could fuck her too.

I’ve been griping about my inability to see the movie version of Woodrell’s Winter’s Bone because our local theaters are LAME. Tomato Red was originally published in 1998, but was recently reissued by Busted Flush Press. I highly recommend it, and I haven’t even finished reading it yet (which I hope to rectify either tonight or tomorrow). BFP is also reissuing Woodrell’s 2001 novel, The Death of Sweet Mister, in March of next year. I can’t wait for that! I’ve loved everything I’ve read that has come out of BFP; David knows his stuff, make no mistake about it!

7 thoughts on “Two Paragraphs that Prove the Awesomeness of Daniel Woodrell”

  1. >Woodrell is one of my favorites. I always go back and forth between TOMATO RED and THE DEATH OF SWEET MISTER as my favorite from his work. But, really, all of his books are top shelf. I believe Mullholland will be reissuing his sort of PI novels next year, too.

  2. >I just gave away WINTER'S BONE to a friend today to read, because I want to pass on the awesome that is Woodrell. I like the covers, too (and his titles are always so snappy.)Glad you enjoyed Megan Abott's posting at Mulholland Books!

  3. >Yeah, those are great covers.I finished a Megan Abbott book last night, she wrote the introduction to the one I started next, then this morning she pops up on the Mulholland blog. I think my next post may be about Megan and her books, since the universe has her all up in my grill these days!

  4. >Woodrell sure can write like hell that's for sure. Tomato Red and Give Me A Kiss are two personal favorites, as was Winter's Bone. He had an interesting path to publication, too, being an ex-marine and working a variety of blue collar jobs (no shame there) until he got hooked up at University of Iowa. He seems to keep a low profile, too, which is a rarity as most published writers work hard to stay connected and sell themselves online. There's not a false note anywhere in the film adaptation of Winter's Bone. It was the best movie I've seen all year, with That Evening Sun a very close second.

  5. >Winter's Bone is looking more and more like a DVD watch for me, as it doesn't show any signs of ever getting here. That pisses me off.Woodrell is one of the guests at NoirCon this year. I continue to cling to hope of going.

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