Tuesday, January 08, 2008


This here novel was enthusiastically recommended to me by a co-worker at Borders about 12 years back. I picked it up and put it promptly on the shelf, then in a box, then unpacked it at the new place and put it back on the shelf, where it caught my eye the other day.

I haven't been pulled along by such dread anticipation since The House of Sand and Fog. Larry Brown writes rural South like nobody's business, and Father and Son may as well be a new book in the Old Testament. In fact they could probably throw out a few of those old shoddily constructed clunkers and replace them with Brown's book, which more clearly delineates Cain and Abel and all that ghastly brutal eye for an eye shit. Terrific stuff, but grim, grim, grim. And violent.

Glen gets out of prison after serving three years for running over a boy while driving drunk. He promptly sets about avenging some slights from years before, and ends up fighting a monkey and then doing some stuff even less legal. Meanwhile the good-hearted and upstanding local sherrif tries to hold his county together as everybody starts fucking up at once and a bunch of old bad karma betwixt his and Glen's kin starts bubbling over. I don't wish to spoil anything for ya, but I read the last 50 pages in about ten minutes, not wanting and needing to know what would happen. Plum near drove me bonkers.

This, by the way, is the second novel in a row I've read wherein a monkey comes to a bad end. I'd like to know if there's a third out there--not because I dislike monkeys, but because these two novels were great and I wonder if that's part of the reason? Why stop a good streak?

I understand Larry Brown died of a heart attack in 2004. Damn shame. I'll be tracking down his other books.

No comments: