A Miracle of Catfish (Hardcover)

By Larry Brown

A Shannon Ravenel Book, 9781565125360, 455pp.

Publication Date: March 20, 2007

List Price: 24.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Description

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 see A 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.


About the Author

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 full time. (The nonfiction book On Fire tells the story of his many years as a firefighter.) Between then and his untimely death in 2004, he published seven more books. He was awarded the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters award for fiction and was the first two-time winner of the Southern Book Award for Fiction, which he won in 1992 for Joe, and again in 1997 for Father and Son. He was the recipient of a Lila Wallace-Readers Digest Award and Mississippi's Governor's Award For Excellence in the Arts. The story "Big Bad Love" became the basis for a feature film, as did his novel Joe


Praise For A Miracle of Catfish

“A Southern noir stylist publishes his best work. . . . When the novelist Larry Brown died in November 2004, the nation lost an irreplaceable literary voice. Spare, bluesy, and grimly beautiful, his books mapped the rough contours of life in his native north Mississippi. . . . His best work may have been A Miracle of Catfish. . . . Miracle is classic Larry, gritty and unflinching, with a wide-as-an-interstate streak of mischief running through its center. . . . [Brown is] a fierce and natural writer, a once-in-a-lifetime comet of big, bad, raw talent.”
Men's Journal