A Goodbye

November 24th, 2004 · 2 Comments
by Booksquare

We encountered Larry Brown via a particularly enthusiastic writing teacher, and are saddened to learn of his death. In the manner of Flannery O’Connor, Brown explored ordinary people in his world, uncovering the unexpected way they lived what the casual observer would call a normal life. Brown’s humor and direct voice made his characters come alive on the page, and made us want to keep reading even when we were finished.

November 24, 2004


Larry Brown, author of JOE and eight other classics of southern literature,
died of a heart attack at his home in Oxford, Mississippi, Wednesday,
November 24. He was 53.

Born in 1951, Brown served in the Marine Corps from 1970 to 1972 and joined
the Oxford fire department in 1973. He published his first book, FACING THE
MUSIC, Short Stories, with Algonquin Books in 1988. Algonquin also
published his second collection, BIG BAD LOVE, his novels DIRTY WORK, JOE,
FATHER AND SON, and FAY, and two collections of essays, ON FIRE and BILLY
RAY’S FARM. His most recent novel, THE RABBIT FACTORY, was published by The
Free Press last year.

The New Yorker wrote of Brown, “He is blunt and abrasive about subjects
that tend to cause flinching. He tells stories in plain language.” Time
Magazine called his writing “clear, simple and powerful.” Men’s Journal
said, “He left the Oxford, Mississippi, fire department after his first
novel was published. It paid off.”

Brown was the recipient of the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters
Award for Literature, the Southern Critics Circle Award for Fiction, the
Thomas Wolfe Award, and the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Award. A
documentary, “The Rough South of Larry Brown,” premiered at the Center for
Documentary Studies in 2000.

Larry Brown leaves his widow, Mary Annie, three grown children, Billy Ray,
Shane and Lee Anne, and two granddaughters.

Michael Taeckens, Publicity Director
Algonquin Books
127 Kingston St., Ste. 105
Chapel Hill, NC 27515
Ph.: 919-967-0108 x14
Fax: 919-933-0272

File Under: Square Pegs

2 responses so far ↓

  • Jeanne Ketterer // Nov 24, 2004 at 1:04 pm

    I read the sad news about Larry earlier this afternoon. I loved his Father and Son – on my list of best books.


  • Karen // Nov 24, 2004 at 7:26 pm

    I was just casually spinning through the site when I came up short on this item. What a loss. Larry Brown was an immense talent. When I was working on my first book, I read Brown’s novel Joe obsessively, trying to figure out, sentence by sentence, how he made magic.