An ALA Notable Book, Joe has earned critical acclaim nationwide, and Larry Brown has been compared to great Southern writers such as William Faulkner and Eudora Welty. Like them, Larry Brown has an unerring feel for the truest details of regional life. The Mississippi countryside is Joe Ransom's world. There, whiskey, fast trucks, and a hard right fist are the badges of manhood. But middle age is approaching, and Joe tries to not think too much about the future. At 15, Gary Jones' life is painful and unpredictable. His days are spent avoiding his brutish father and caring for a damaged mother and sister. When Joe's and Gary's paths cross, the resulting friendship is a bizarre rite of passage for both of them. Throughout the story, Brown deftly maintains a balance between action and destruction, compassion and compulsion. His characters are riveting; the conclusion is shocking. This novel will leave you astonished and grateful for Larry Brown, a major talent.More
"Powerful...Brown comes into his own." (Publishers Weekly)
"Brown delivers....This raw and gritty novel ranks with the best hard-knocks, down-and-out work of Jim Thompson and Harry Crews. It's lean, mean, and original." (Kirkus Reviews)
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Gritty Southern Alcoholism
4.5 StarsLarry Brown always gave us gritty reality – a southern-baked, distilled variety of reality. And, “Joe” is another big dose. If you’re not up for riding around with Joe in his pickup while he guzzles vast amounts of whiskey and beer, you may want to put off reading “Joe” until you are. If you are not ready for heavy measures of the southern vernacular and watching degenerate alcoholics abuse all who love them and many others who do not, you may want to make a sunnier reading selection. On the other had if you are up for a taste of reality a la Larry Brown, get ready for another great bumpy ride through rural Mississippi. Oh, and you may want find your local Al-Anon meeting.
- Chip Auger