Larry Brown News

I post it when I have it, folks. And as I'm right in the mid­dle of mov­ing six­ty-five cas­es of books, along with the unim­por­tant stuff, this is like­ly all you'll get out of me this week, so pay atten­tion to Dar­nell Arnoult at Danc­ing with the Goril­la.

Lar­ry Brown (July 9, 1951 – Novem­ber 24, 2001) is one of the most impor­tant con­tem­po­rary South­ern writ­ers, and he is also one of the most impor­tant Amer­i­can writ­ers. Brown’s work often focus­es on the rur­al and small-town work­ing class and those mem­bers of soci­ety who haven’t quite got their toe hold, or they’ve had it and lost it. He writes about men, women, and chil­dren strug­gling toward some­thing bet­ter than what they have. His sto­ries are real, they are grit­ty, and some would say they are goth­ic.  I say they’re damn good, and through his work, Lar­ry Brown has become one of  my best teach­ers. You’ll hear more about Brown’s work in each install­ment this month.

Brown left this world with a lot of sto­ries unwrit­ten, but he also left a lega­cy of instruc­tion any writer would be smart to study. Lar­ry Brown has said a writer signs on for an appren­tice­ship, and no one knows how long his or her appren­tice­ship will last. Brown also once said he shot and burned an ear­ly nov­el and would have hung it if he could have fig­ured out how to do it. Yet he learned enough from the writ­ing of that nov­el to do a bet­ter job writ­ing the next nov­el. Bar­ry Han­nah says in the intro­duc­tion to Brown’s last nov­el, Mir­a­cle of Cat­fish, that when Brown showed him the short sto­ry “Fac­ing the Music” Han­nah was fool­ish enough to think Brown had peaked. Lar­ry Brown was just get­ting his engine warm.

It strikes me that peo­ple may be inter­est­ed, too, in an intro­duc­to­ry essay to Night Train I wrote some years ago, an essay that con­cerns Lar­ry Brown.

More next week, peo­ple, when I come up for air.

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