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Father and Son by Larry Brown

Father and Son

by Larry Brown

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336832,756 (4.07)22
  1. 00
    Galveston by Nic Pizzolatto (Polaris-)
    Polaris-: Both are tales of grit and foreboding, told with great narratives, fine dialogue, and flawed but real characters whose motives you get.
  2. 00
    Dirty work by Larry Brown (Polaris-)

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I've been on a Larry Brown kick since last October when I visited Square Books in Oxford MS and purchased LARRY BROWN, A WRITER'S LIFE. Larry Brown was born in Oxford, and his stories take place in small towns nearby, and throughout MS. After reading this biography by Jean Cash, I was so intrigued, I bought BIG BAD LOVE, FACING THE MUSIC, JOE, FAY, FATHER AND SON, BILLY RAY'S FARM, and A MIRACLE OF CATFISH. I think the only two books I don't have are DIRTY WORK and ON FIRE.

Either way, this is my review of FATHER AND SON which I just finished a couple nights ago. I've loved all of LB's books thus far, but this one has been my favorite.

FATHER AND SON was the sort of book I would think about during the day, anticipating the time when I could pick it and start reading where I left off. I usually only get to read at night and I found myself going to bed earlier and earlier, just so I could get back into the story.

Glen Davis is one of the main characters, and the "son," and Virgil is his "father." It's a story about not only their relationship, which is tenuous at best, but also many others who are an integral part of their lives. His brother, nicknamed "Puppy," the sheriff, Bobby Blanchard, Jewel, the love interest of both Glen and Bobby, and Mary, Bobby's mother.

Glen has just come out of prison, but not really. Because to me, he's imprisoned within his own mind. He is mad at the world, and especially his father. Actually, he's mad at many people, and prison hasn't helped him forget all the wrong's he believes have been heaped on him. As I read, I kept hoping Glen would have an epiphany of sorts, a come to Jesus awakening that would mellow him out, make him forgive. But Glen is a hard man, out to settle scores.

The book is written from many different points of view so you get where each of the characters are coming from. I felt sorry for Virgil, who is an old man wishing his son would do right. I had empathy for Jewel's predicament, having a child by Glen, hoping and waiting for him to do the right thing, and Bobby Blanchard, LB's "good guy," was somebody we'd all want for Sheriff in our own hometowns. The interactions of these characters lays out a complex history with secrets that are slowly revealed as the story moves on.

As with many of LB's books, the writing is tight, crisp and full of imagery and descriptions. If you've never been to MS, or anywhere in the deep south, reading his stories will make you feel like you've been there. ( )
  DonnaEverhart | Oct 27, 2015 |
I'm glad I read this novel by Larry Brown. I don't think I'll read another one, but that's not because Brown is not a good storyteller or fine writer. It's just not a pleasant read. While some may characterize this as a southern Gothic novel because of the mood, setting and characters, I think it is just as easily a tale about any any rural, economically depressed region and its inhabitants. It is a great read (page turner), but I didn't connect with any characters. The most interesting aspect is how much tolerance and understanding is extended to a evil character; because good people just can't fathom evil behavior. One feature of a good person is the willingness to offer a bad person the benefit of the doubt..always holding on to the hope he will change. I like the way the motivations and histories of the characters unfolded as the book progressed..even if somewhat predictable. Predictable only in the sense that humans are flawed and nobody is perfect. ( )
  morieel | Oct 25, 2015 |
I liked everything about this book, from the way it was set up to the very vivid, spare prose to the characters. Brown takes the old story about brothers going in different directions (in this instance they're half-brothers) and makes it new and real. He changes POV easily and effectively to let the reader know his characters from the inside. A terrific book. I miss Larry Brown. ( )
  jimnicol | Sep 26, 2014 |
The story shows a brief part in the life of Glen Davis when he returns from prison after serving time for vehicular homicide.

He is a vengeful person and aggressive toward his girlfriend and uncaring about his small son.

The sheriff would like to marry Glen's old girlfriend but she wants Glen.

We also meet Glen's father, a wounded WWII vet.

At one point, Glen takes his father's rifle and kills a man who made a comment about Glen's girl when Glen was in prison.

There is good description of the area and the relationship between the blacks and white in rural Mississippi in the 1960s. ( )
  mikedraper | Jul 21, 2013 |
Dirty, raw, gritty - and that just barely scrapes the surface of Larry Brown's book, Father and Son. I don't mind the dirt and the grit, but I must confess, this book was more than I can handle.

Glen Davis spent three years in jail for killing a young boy while he was driving drunk. He got early parole, and as Glen returns to his small hometown in 1968 Mississippi, you can tell trouble's brewing. Glen's one of those types who thinks the world is always against him - and that anything bad that happens to Glen (real or perceived) must be met with swift and cruel retribution.

So, within a short time of his return, Glen commits double homicide, seeking revenge on a man who offered to buy his girlfriend a drink (three years ago). Then he rapes a woman who flirted with him (she deserved it, you see). Finally, upon learning that his girlfriend broke up with him so she could date the sheriff, Glen kidnaps the sheriff's mom, ties her up and rapes her too.

Mix in a lot of beer, whiskey, cigarettes and animal cruelty - and you get a less than favorable view of Southern life. I fear it fits the stereotype a little too much. Sure, there were some upstanding characters, but Glen's crimes overshadow it all.

As Brown writes about the characters and their pasts, he starts to paint a picture of Glen's youth - the child of a drunken, cheating father and a mother who complained to her son about his father's misdeeds. We also learn about the death of Glen's brother in a gun accident. Indeed, Glen's young life was not an easy one, and Brown keeps pressing on his relationship with his mother as an important influence in his life - as if she had, in some way, caused him to be such an evildoer. I object to this position. Glen was a sociopath. While his mom may be guilty of bad mothering, no amount of good parenting could have cured him. He was evil to the soul.

Larry Brown writes with sparse prose and is fearless about his stories. If you like the styles of Cormac McCarthy, Jon Clinch or Robert Olmstead, then give Larry Brown a try. Be forewarned, though, the Father and Son is like a punch in the gut. ( )
2 vote mrstreme | Sep 17, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0805053034, Paperback)

Larry Brown is the master of the raw and the sparse and of bringing Mississippi to the world in a language that is as stripped down and bare as Faulkner's is dense. Brown is at his best when he writes of the tensions between one screwed-up man and another, in this case a father and son. One has just been let out of prison, and he shouldn't have been. The other is drunk and disabled and intends on staying that way. To make things worse, there is a conflict with the sheriff, who is good and righteous but who tried to put the moves on the parolee's woman while he was in prison. To tell more would be to violate Brown's mastery of dialogue and of that which goes unspoken in this sly story of father, son, and misery.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:42 -0400)

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Two men square off in a Mississippi town over a woman. One is the sheriff who loves her, the other a returned convict who is father of her child, but refuses to acknowledge paternity. A five-day drama by the author of Dirty Work.

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