Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Daniel Woodrell

For the Wall Street Journal, Steven Kurutz interviewed Winter's Bone author Daniel Woodrell. Part of the Q & A:

The Wall Street Journal: What’s interesting about your style is that you write about a culture many readers would find foreign, but you do it without any translating.

I had a strange conversation with a professor who was very important to me. I’d long been trying to be a writer. He said, ‘You’re going to have a big problem.’ I said, ‘What’s that?’ He says, ‘You write about working class people and you’re writing about them straight. He took me aside and said, ‘I think you can write but you’re going to have to make a choice about how you’re going to deal with this. If you’re going to do straight working-class fiction, hats off to you and good luck. But if you’re going to try to survive outside academia – and I wasn’t suited to a life in academia – you might think about crossing it with your other interests.’

How did that conversation change your approach?

That put the idea in my head that there’s no reason I couldn’t cover an awful lot of things I was interested in, and I’ve always loved crime — Chandler and Cain and Hammett and all the rest. I always loved the verve and vivacity of pulp and I kind of merged it with my own interest in family stories.

Dennis Lehane has said that he writes crime because it allows him to discuss class.

There’s an...[read on]
A few years ago Dennis Lehane called Woodrell the least-known major writer in America.

--Marshal Zeringue