Billy Ray's Farm
Essays from a Place Called Tula
By Larry Brown
(Touchstone, Paperback, 9780743225243, 224pp.)
Publication Date: April 2, 2002
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In Billy Ray's Farm, Larry Brown brings the appealing blend of candor, humor, and poignancy of his acclaimed novels Fay and Father and Son to nine personal essays that explore the emotional and physical landscape of the corner of Mississippi he calls home. The centerpiece of this collection offers a moving description of life on his son's cattle farm, capturing Brown's deep-seated attachment to his family and to the land. In other pieces, Brown takes readers inside the writing cabin he built, chronicles his attempt to outsmart a wily coyote intent on killing the farm's baby goats, and reveals his reactions to being constantly compared to William Faulkner, a writer inspired by the same geography. Threaded through each piece are warm reflections on the Southern musicians and authors who influenced his writings.
At once entertaining and insightful, Billy Ray's Farm brilliantly illuminates how a great writer responds, personally and artistically, to the patch of land he lives on, providing a wonderful look into the mysterious sources of a writer's motivation.
Larry Brown was the author of eight previous books. A recipient of the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Literature, the Southern Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, the University of North Carolina's Thomas Wolfe Prize, and the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Award, he passed away in 2004.