9781565125360
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ISBN: 978-1-56512-536-0

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ISBN: 978-1-56512-696-1

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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 seeA 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.

Bio

brown_larry Photo Credit: Tom Rankin

Larry Brown was born in Lafayette County, Mississippi, where he lived all his life. At the age of thirty, a captain in the Oxford Fire Department, he decided to become a writer and worked toward that goal for seven years before publishing his first book, Facing the Music, a collection of stories, in 1988. With the publication of his first novel, Dirty Work, he quit the fire station in order to write fulltime. Between then and his untimely death in 2004, he published seven more books. His three grown children and his widow, Mary Annie Brown, live near Oxford.

Praise

"Larry Brown's posthumous A Miracle of Catfish is, simply enough, a triumph of the sort of visceral intensity that we have learned to expect from Brown. It is certainly a must-read for all of those concerned with American literature in our time." -Jim Harrison

'Larry Brown's unique voice lives on—in A Miracle of Catfish, we meet more of his unforgettable characters and their colorful lives, struggles, and adventures. He would want us to read and laugh and weep and open a beer in his memory." -John Grisham

"Here's the truth: Larry Brown is one of the absolute best to ever set words to paper, bar none... a better storyteller than virtually anyone on the planet. A Miracle of Catfish is Brown's final instruction to us, and even unfinished, it is a magnificent accomplishment, majestic and geuine and wise, a masterpiece. Lord how he'll be missed." -Martin Clark

"A Miracle of Catfish is a big, splendid good-bye from one of our finest writers." -Charles Frazier

"A Miracle of Catfish is a lushly detailed, loving look at Brown's own postage stamp, Yocona, Mississippi, through the eyes of all kinds of characters, including dogs and catfish. At times delightful and hilarious, and at other times almost unbearably sad, this generous work from one of America's finest writers is a gift to readers everywhere." -*Tom Franklin