Billy Ray's Farm

      Larry Brown
Billy Ray's Farm

In his first work of nonfiction since the acclaimed On Fire, Brown aims for nothing short of ruthlessly capturing the truth of the world in which he has always lived. In the prologue to the book, he tells what it's like to be constantly compared with William Faulkner, a writer with whom he shares inspiration from the Mississippi land. The essays that follow show that influence as undeniable. Here is the pond Larry reclaims and restocks on his place in Tula. Here is the Oxford bar crowd on a wild goose chase to a fabled fishing event. And here is the literary sensation trying to outsmart a wily coyote intent on killing the farm's baby goats. Woven in are intimate reflections on the Southern musicians and writers whose work has inspired Brown's and the thrill of his first literary recognition.

But the centerpiece of this book is the title essay which embodies every element of Larry Brown's most emotional attachments-to ...

Read online

    Big Bad Love

      Larry Brown
Big Bad Love

Larry Brown's highly praised novel Dirty Work established him as one of the fiercest and most powerful new voices in Southern literature, a writer who understands the sorrows and joys of everyday life. That same compassionate regard for ordinary people shines on every page of Big Bad Love, whose heroes in these stories have a fatal weakness for beer, fast women, and pick-up trucks, and who find a kind of salvation in the reckless pursuit of love.

From Publishers Weekly

Womanizing, heavy-drinking, often desperate backwoods loners inhabit this virtuoso collection of short stories. According to PW , "A casual glance suggests invasion of Raymond Carver territory, but Brown stakes out his own turf by dint of his integrity and wit; his heroes are savants of the down-and-out set, harrowingly aware of their own limitations without abandoning hope of salvation."
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

From the author of Dirty Work , a searing war/antiwar novel ( LJ 7/89), comes a rich, moody collection of stories. All feature male protagonists of the beer-drinking, pick-up truck-driving persuasion, who are awkwardly trying to relate to women in a raunchy, sentimental way. Most seem stranded by a failure to communicate, a yearning to connect with others. "Discipline" is a different style, effectively told as a courtroom interrogation. The final long story, "92 Days," is an almost too-real chronicle of a writer trying to get published, struggling with a lack of money and a bitter ex-wife, drinking too much, but still driven by the need to write. Brown, an ex-firefighter from Oxford, Mississippi, might just become another powerhouse Southern writer.
- Ann H. Fisher, Radford P.L., Va.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Read online

    Dirty Work

      Larry Brown
Dirty Work

Dirty Work is the story of two men, strangers—one white, the other black. Both were born and raised in Mississippi. Both fought in Vietnam. Both were gravely wounded. Now, twenty-two years later, the two men lie in adjacent beds in a VA hospital.Over the course of a day and a night, Walter James and Braiden Chaney talk of memories, of passions, of fate.

With great vision, humor, and courage, Brown writes mostly about love in a story about the waste of war.

From Publishers Weekly

Two devastatingly wounded Vietnam vets, Chaney, who is black, and James, white, both sons of the South, lie in a veteran's hospital and talk freely about combat, movies, sex, old loves, their boyhoods, how it feels to kill a man and why God allows wars to happen. PW described this novel as "wrenching" and "memorable."
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"There has been no anti-war novel . . . quite like Dirty Work."—The New York Times (The New York Times )

"A novel of the first order. . . . A gem."—The Washington Post (The Washington Post )

"Explodes like a land mine. . . . A marvelous book."—The Kansas City Star (The Kansas City Star )

"A real knockout."—New York Newsday (Newsday )

Read online

    On Fire

      Larry Brown
On Fire

On January 6, 1990, after seventeen years on the job, award-winning novelist Larry Brown quit the Oxford, Mississippi, Fire Department. With three published books to his credit and a fourth nearly finished, he made the risky decision to try life as a full-time writer. On Fire, his first work of nonfiction, looks back on his life as a full-time firefighter. Unflinching accounts of daily trauma—from the blistering heat of burning trailer homes to the crunch of broken glass at crash scenes—catapult readers into the hard reality that has driven Larry Brown.
As firefighter and fireman-turned-author, as husband and hunter, and as father and son, Brown offers insights into the choices men face pursuing their life's work. And, in the forthright style we expect from Larry Brown, his diary builds incrementally and forcefully to the explanation of how one man who regularly confronted death began to burn with the desire to write about life.
On Fire is a...

Read online

    A Miracle of Catfish

      Larry Brown
A Miracle of Catfish

Larry Brown has been a force in American literature since taking critics by storm with his debut collection, Facing the Music, in 1988. His subsequent work—five novels, another story collection, and two books of nonfiction—continued to bring extraordinary praise and national attention to the writer New York Newsday called a "master."

In November 2004, Brown sent the nearly completed manuscript of his sixth novel to his literary agent. A week later, he died of a massive heart attack. He was fifty-three years old.

A Miracle of Catfish is that novel. Brown's trademarks—his raw detail, pared-down prose, and characters under siege—are all here.

This beautiful, heartbreaking anthem to the writer's own North Mississippi land and the hard-working, hard-loving, hard-losing men it spawns is the story of one year in the lives of five characters—an old farmer with a new pond he wants stocked with ...

Read online

    The Rabbit Factory: A Novel

      Larry Brown
The Rabbit Factory: A Novel

Uploaded by toocool81


Larry Brown's idiosyncratic and powerful Southern novels have earned him widespread critical acclaim. Now, in an ambitious narrative structure reminiscent of Robert Altman's classic film Nashville, this "true original" (Chicago Tribune) weaves together the stories of a sprawling cast of eccentric and lovable characters, each embarked on a quest for meaning, fulfillment, and love -- with poignant and uproarious results.
Set in Memphis and north Mississippi, The Rabbit Factory follows the colliding lives of, among others, Arthur, an older, socially ill-at-ease man of considerable wealth married to the much younger Helen, whose desperate need for satisfaction sweeps her into the arms of other men; Eric, who has run away from home thinking his father doesn't want him and becomes Arthur's unlikely surrogate son; Domino, an ex-con now involved in the drug trade, who runs afoul of a twisted cop; and Anjalee, a big-hearted prostitute with her own set of troubles, who crashes into the lives of the others like a one-woman hurricane.
Teeming with pitch-perfect creations that include quirky gangsters, colorful locals, seemingly straitlaced professors, and fast-and-loose police officers, Brown tells a spellbinding and often hilarious story about the botched choices and missed chances that separate people -- and the tenuous threads of love and coincidence that connect them. With all the subtlety and surprise of life itself, the story turns on a dime from comical to violent to moving. Masterful, profound, and full of spirit, The Rabbit Factory is literary entertainment of the highest order.

From Publishers Weekly

Grimly realistic, tragic-absurd and raunchy, Brown's latest novel returns to his deep South fictional territory and to the characters-poor, largely uneducated, hard-drinking, cigarette and dope smoking-that he portrays so well. This time he juggles a large cast with one thing in common: they're long-time losers whose paths intersect in or near Memphis. Arthur is nearly 70, impotent and fearful of losing his sexy younger wife, Helen. She tries to seduce teenaged Eric, a pet shop employee who fled his abusive father's rabbit factory-a metaphor for the uncaring world in which these people exist. Anjalee is a prostitute who smites the heart of Wayne, a navy boxer. Domino has survived a prison term and now works butchering meat for a gangster named Mr. Hamburger, who sells it to a man who owns lions. Trouble is, the body of one of Mr. Hamburger's victims turns up in the meat locker, which complicates Domino's extracurricular job dealing weed over the border in Mississippi. The plot includes several murders, lots of sex, domestic spats and plenty of action in bars. Even the violent scenes veer close to farce. Dogs figure prominently, one of them a pit bull named Jada Pickett. Miss Muffet, who is the housekeeper for one of the spoiled canines, has a plastic leg. Yet even with the advantage of Brown's keen eye for the absurdities of life and for the habits of people who live on the edge, the book fails to deliver the punch of his earlier works. Fay, his most accomplished novel to date, was darker, but one could identify with the protagonist. Here, the characters are all self-absorbed and incessantly whiny, and their obsessive rambling thoughts are recounted in numbing detail. Readers will understand well before the end that these sad lives will never go anywhere but down.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Brown is a much-beloved writer who was put on the literary map primarily by his very popular novel Joe (1991). His latest will not only please his fans but also win him new ones. There is a kind of southern literary tradition for novelists to go "big screen" by following the plights and exploits of a slew of wacky but indelibly colorful individuals all living in one community and by alternating back and forth among their stories as they come to terms with life in their own peculiar fashion. That is exactly the mode Brown chooses here as we observe hooker Anjalee; older man Arthur along with his younger, sexually dissatisfied wife, Helen; "gunslinger" Frankie and his just desserts; ex-prisoner Domino and his sordid attempts to make a go of it outside the big house; and other equally "attractive" men and women working out their own destinies even when love, sex, and money (or the lack of any or all of the three) get in their way. This is not a gentle community these people inhabit; violence is just around the corner, as are the cops. One hysterical scene is followed by another, all of them underlain with the philosophy that you gotta do what you gotta do to be able to do what you wanna do. Can't go wrong with a conviction like that, can you? Read and see. But you definitely can't go wrong with a novel that has dogs as fully developed characters in their own right. Brad Hooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Read online