I really enjoy John Hart and James Lee Burke's multi-faceted tales set in the rural areas of the American South, so I think I will have to accelerate Woodrell up towards the top of my TBR pile. Here's a blurb about THE BAYOU TRILOGY:
A hard-hitting, critically acclaimed trilogy of crime novels from an author about whom New York magazine has written, “What people say about Cormac McCarthy … goes double for Woodrell. Possibly more.”
In the parish of St. Bruno, sex is easy, corruption festers, and double-dealing is a way of life. Rene Shade is an uncompromising detective swimming in a sea of filth.
As Shade takes on hit men, porn kings, a gang of ex-cons, and the ghosts of his own checkered past, Woodrell’s three seminal novels pit long-entrenched criminals against the hard line of the law, brother against brother, and two vastly different sons against a long-absent father.
The Bayou Trilogy highlights the origins of a one-of-a-kind author, a writer who for over two decades has created an indelible representation of the shadows of the rural American experience and has steadily built a devoted following among crime fiction aficionados and esteemed literary critics alike.
It will be interesting to see if sales of THE BAYOU TRILOGY jump after today's news about the President's summer reading list. I understand other crime novels or crime writers highlighted by previous Presidents (such as Clinton, who was also a keen reader) certainly got a 'jump' in notoriety and sales.
Of course, not everyone is happy about the President reading fiction on his vacation, or crime fiction in particular - regardless of the widespread literary acclaim for Woodrell as an author. The Conservative-leaning (being euphemistic) National Review certainly impled that genre fiction was too trashy for Presidents to read, or at least for them to admit they read. Great - now we have literary pretentiousness meeting political bias; what fantastic bedfellows!
Said conservative commentator Tevi Troy, "Beyond the issue of fiction vs. nonfiction, there is also the question of genre. The Bayou Trilogy has received excellent reviews, but it is a mystery series. While there is nothing wrong with that per se, not every presidential reading selection is worth revealing to the public. Bill Clinton, for example, used to love mysteries, but he did not advertise the titles of what he once called 'my little cheap thrills outlet'." So there is nothing wrong with reading mysteries, as long as you don't tell people about it. Hmmm....
What do you think of the President's reading choices? Is it good or bad that he's open to a bit of highly-acclaimed crime fiction? Have you read any of Woodrell's 'rural noir'? Comments welcome.