Author bio

Larry Brown

Larry Brown - book author

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Larry Brown was an American writer who was born and lived in Oxford, Mississippi. Brown wrote fiction and nonfiction. He graduated from high school in Oxford but did not go to college. Many years later, he took a creative writing class from the Mississippi novelist Ellen Douglas. Brown served in the United States Marine Corps from 1970 to 1972. On his return to Oxford, he worked at a small stove company before joining the city fire department. An avid reader, Brown began writing in his spare time while he worked as a firefighter in Oxford in 1980.

Brown was awarded the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters award for fiction. Brown was the first two-time winner of the Southern Book Award for Fiction, which he won in 1992 for his novel, Joe and again in 1997 for his novel Father and Son. In 1998, he received a Lila Wallace-Readers Digest Award, which granted him $35,000 per year for three years to write. In 2000, the State of Mississippi granted him a Governor's Award For Excellence in the Arts. For one semester, Brown taught as a writer-in-residence in the creative writing program at the University of Mississippi, temporarily taking over the position held by his friend Barry Hannah. He later served as visiting writer at the University of Montana in Missoula. He taught briefly at other colleges throughout the United States.

Brown died of an apparent heart attack at his home in the Yocona community, near Oxford, in November 2004.


Larry Brown is the author of books: Joe, Father and Son, Fay, Big Bad Love, Dirty Work, Facing the Music, The Rabbit Factory, A Miracle of Catfish, On Fire, Billy Ray's Farm: Essays from a Place Called Tula


Author books

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Title
Description
01
“Brilliant . . . Larry Brown has slapped his own fresh tattoo on the big right arm of Southern Lit.” —The Washington Post Book World

Now a major motion picture starring Nicolas Cage, directed by David Gordon Green.

Joe Ransom is a hard-drinking ex-con pushing fifty who just won’t slow down--not in his pickup, not with a gun, and certainly not with women. Gary Jones estimates his own age to be about fifteen. Born luckless, he is the son of a hopeless, homeless wandering family, and he’s desperate for a way out. When their paths cross, Joe offers him a chance just as his own chances have dwindled to almost nothing. Together they follow a twisting map to redemption--or ruin.
02
This classic story of good and evil takes place in the rural American South of 1968. After being released from prison, Glen Davis returns to his hometown only to commit double homicide within forty-eight hours of his return. Sheriff Bobby Blanchard, as upright as Glen is despicable, walks in the path of Glen’s destruction and tries to rebuild the fragile ties of the families and community they share. Dark secrets that have been simmering for two generations explode to the surface, allowing us a chilling glimpse at how evil can fester in a man’s heart and eat up his soul.

“This is the novel that will live with you day and night.” — Kaye Gibbons

“Cancel the competition for the suspense thriller of the year. Larry Brown has already won it with Father and Son.” —St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Larry Brown is one of the great unsung heroes of American fiction... His work is a reminder of a reason to read.” —San Jose Mercury News
03
She's had no education, and you can't call what her father's been trying to give her "love." So at seventeen, Fay Jones leaves home, carrying a purse with half a pack of cigarettes and two dollar bills. She's headed for the bright lights and big times of Biloxi, and even she knows she needs help getting there. But help's not hard to come by when you look like Fay.

There's a highway patrolman who gives her a lift, with a detour to his own place. There are truck drivers who pick her up, no questions asked. There's a crop duster with money for a night or two on the town. There's a strip-joint bouncer who deals on the side. And in the end, there are five dead bodies stacked in Fay's wake.

Fay is a novel that could only have been written by Larry Brown, whom the Boston Globe called "one of our finest writers -- honest, courageous, unflinching."

04
Brown's heroes have a fatal weakness for beer, fast women, and pick-up trucks, and even when thwarted by state troopers or the women that drive them crazy, find salvation in the reckless pursuit of love.
05
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.
06
Facing the Music, Larry Brown’s first book, was originally published in 1988 to wide critical acclaim. As the St. Petersburg Times review pointed out, the central theme of these ten stories “is the ageless collision of man with woman, woman with man--with the frequent introduction of that other familiar couple, drinking and violence. Most often ugly, love is nevertheless graceful, however desperate the situation.”

There’s some glare from the brutally bright light Larry Brown shines on his subjects. This is the work of a writer unafraid to gaze directly at characters challenged by crisis and pathology. But for readers who are willing to look, unblinkingly, along with the writer, there are unusual rewards.
07
A wealthy social misfit, his much-younger wife, a runaway, and a big-hearted prostitute find their lives intersecting in the wake of quirky gangster activities, strait-laced professors, and fast-and-loose police officers.
08
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 baby catfish; a bankrupt fish pond stocker who secretly releases his forty-pound brood catfish into the farmer's pond; a little boy from the trailer home across the road who inadvertently hooks the behemoth catfish; the boy's inept father; and a former convict down the road who kills a second time to save his daughter.

That Larry Brown died so young, and before he could see A Miracle of Catfish published, is a tragedy. That he had time to enrich the legacy of his work with this remarkable book is a blessing.
09
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.
10
In "Billy Ray's Farm, " Larry Brown brings the appealing blend of candor, humor, and poignancy of his acclaimed novels "Fay" and "Father and Son" to nine personal essays that explore the emotional and physical landscape of the corner of Mississippi he calls home. The centerpiece of this collection offers a moving description of life on his son's cattle farm, capturing Brown's deep-seated attachment to his family and to the land. In other pieces, Brown takes readers inside the writing cabin he built, chronicles his attempt to outsmart a wily coyote intent on killing the farm's baby goats, and reveals his reactions to being constantly compared to William Faulkner, a writer inspired by the same geography. Threaded through each piece are warm reflections on the Southern musicians and authors who influenced his writings. At once entertaining and insightful, "Billy Ray's Farm" brilliantly illuminates how a great writer responds, personally and artistically, to the patch of land he lives on, providing a wonderful look into the mysterious sources of a writer's motivation.