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Father and Son

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  1,913 Ratings  ·  149 Reviews
1997 Southern Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction. Glen Davis is the bad seed. It's Sheriff Bobby Blanchard's job to track him down in what promises to be a violent, High Noon stand-off between the two men who represent what seems pure evil and its exact opposite. "One: Larry Brown is a master. Two: FATHER AND SON . . . is a stinging, tragic history of the legacy of mise ...more
ebook, 281 pages
Published September 15th 2012 by Algonquin Books (first published 1996)
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Community Reviews

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Diane Barnes
Oct 06, 2013 Diane Barnes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am still in shock at how great this book was, and how close I came to not reading it at all. It was one of the October choices for the group "On the Southern Literary Trail". There are 2 choices each month and I like to read at least one of them to get in on the discussion. The other choice was "The Bad Seed" by William March, and since I remembered the old movie with Patty McCormack as the evil child, I put it on hold at the library. But "Father and Son"was available on the shelf so I checked ...more
Anthony Vacca
Didn't quite scratch that itch of mine for stories that make existentially desolate use of the down 'n' dirty American South, and are peopled with the hopeless and the damned blindly eking out their violent lives. For more of that, say hey to Joe. Like that previous novel, Father and Son begins with a seemingly cold narratorial remove from its cast of down-and-outs and downright despicables; but unlike Joe, which maintains that voice and ultimately uses the distance from the character's thoughts ...more
Aug 08, 2013 Shaun rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved, loved, loved this...

So good on so many levels. A fine piece of Southern Gothic, indeed.

The title Father and Son(the perfect title) resonates throughout and serves the story on many levels. The language is simple and clean, even subtle and quiet, yet so many of the scenes were so well-constructed and vivid that I felt myself absorbed while reading in a way that doesn't always happen. Like many, I see the story unfolding on the big screen of my mind as I turn the pages, but unlike many stor
Sep 14, 2016 El rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to El by: Rayroy
Larry Brown's Father and Son is what falls into the categorization of Southern Lit, and more specifically, Grit Lit.

Not all Southern Lit is Grit Lit. The former would be like Flannery O'Connor, who wrote about the grittiness of life and real issues occurring, especially in the Deep South, but it wasn't violent (or if there was violence, it served a greater purpose in the story). The latter would be like Harry Crews (from the one book I've read by him), Larry Brown (from the one book I've read by
Larry Bassett
Here is something by and about Larry Brown to get yourself ready to read Father and Son. Always good, I think, to know a little bit about the author. He says, “I try to start with trouble on the first page, trouble on the first page.” So, here it is. Trouble for seventeen minutes:

Now, I recommend that you read Father and Son and get to know Glen.
He didn’t feel much like spending the whole day looking for a job. It was probably going to be the same story
Dec 28, 2013 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-book
This was a very dark, raw and unfiltered tale. The blurb on the back cover describes this novel as a “classic story of good and evil.” No kidding! Even so, I was mesmerized – sometimes disturbed, but always compelled to finish the book.
Nov 10, 2013 Dawn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The setting and characters in this story are so vividly alive in my mind as bits and pieces of reality that I can hardly separate the two. I can see real faces and real places in this novel so it is very hard for me to truly make an unbiased review of this novel . To me Larry Brown wrote Father and Son as one of his finest novels ever. It is a novel that moves from conflict to uncomfortable conflict constantly as his characters stay in motion. The whole book is like a thunder storm building up i ...more
Sep 13, 2011 Jamie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-dirty-south
Oh, whoops. OK. I’ve been reading this book “over a month” but really I was reading Provinces of Night five more times (not kidding) and this only took something like three days, because it was good, so good, and dark and brutal but Larry Brown kind of good. It will stick with me, I can tell from the time I’ve already spent thinking about Jewel and David and Virgil and Mary, and it didn’t do what I feared, which was make one man too good and the other too evil. No, both are drawn in shades and t ...more
May 22, 2014 Ed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
More "literature" than crime fiction, Larry Brown takes us on a slow train ride of life and death set in the grinding poverty, alcoholism and tragedy of rural Mississippi of 1968. Glen Davis is released from prison after serving three years for vehicular homicide and wants revenge on everyone in his life he believes wronged him. Turns out, that's a long list, staring with a bartender and his pet monkey and ending with his elderly teacher and mother of his half brother Bobby, the County Sheriff.

Apr 02, 2009 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Steinbeck lovers, southern writer fans, family relationship fans.
Recommended to Michael by: Liked the reviews when published.
This story is the anthisis of "The Prodical Son." In this work it isn't the repentent son coming home to ask forgiveness but a rebellious malcontent fresh from prison after serving time for vehicular homicide.

Bobby Blanchard is the sheriff. He had put Glen Davis into jail after Glen had run over and killed a young boy. To add to the drama, Bobby is in love with Glen's girlfriend, Jewel, who is the mother of Geln's illegitimate son.

The action takes place in the few days after returning from priso
Oct 14, 2013 Jimmie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my first Larry Brown book; it will not be my last.

Brown's writing is phenomenal in his ability to paint characters outside of most people's experience as well as describe settings in such a way that I found it hard to comprehend--a description of the trailer "home" of a minor character is worth the reading of the book.

After reading Serena recently, I am again struck with the main character's lack of compassion, empathy in his thoughts, intentions, and indeed actions. Yet just when the
Ruth Turner

I only discovered southern literature when I joined Goodreads and I've read some amazing books since then. When I saw all the great reviews for Father and Son I was sure this one would be added to the ever growing list. Not so.

It took me nearly half the book to get interested. The characters were flat and bland, so much so that I had trouble keeping the who's who straight.

The writing was choppy at times and rambling at others. I found myself re-reading sentences or paragraphs trying to clarify w
Oct 04, 2013 Mel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mel by: On the Southern Literary Trail Group Read
It is hard to describe with words the impression this story made on me. This is a very haunting dark and violent story; one that I believe will stay with me for a long time. I felt like I knew these people, and spent time with them in their hard luck little town.

I wish I would not have had to spend any time with Glen but I got to know him too.I didn't like him although there were times when I thought I could give him a chance but he just would not let me like him. He just was unable to act like
Kirk Smith
Feb 23, 2014 Kirk Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My second that I have read by Brown and I am understanding him a little better. His slow pacing sets a mood and it just can't be rushed. By the second chapter there is a bloody bar fight with a mean little yellow-fanged monkey that left me laughing and shaking my head. Lots of action and violence, I plan to vote this in the top five on a list: "Country Noir". Larry Brown is a real trickster. He creates lousy mean characters that as soon as you are ready to write them off as unredeemable killers ...more
Angela Herring
May 08, 2007 Angela Herring rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I finished it I was shaking. This is a beautiful, horrifying story of a man just released from prison in Oxford,MS and all and everyone that waits for him at home. The characters in this book are so much more fleshed out that in Joe, the other Larry Brown book I've read, although the outlines of them seem to exist in the latter as well. These characters -- and there are a few -- are real, dynamic, interesting, scary and compassionate. Even the killer himself. Definitely read it.

Larry Brown
Quick geometry review.....three sided shape? Triangle. Four sided shape? Square. Five sided shape? Pentagon. Hanging in so far? OK, six sided shape? Hexagon. Now, for the one that applies to this book, for all the sided shape?

Well, the answer to that quiz is the descriptive shape I would use to outline this one. Not your typical love triangle book of predictable proportions, but a love heptagon (I admit, I hit up my friend Google to be sure I was correct). Did you ace the test?
B. R. Reed
Mar 14, 2017 B. R. Reed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I must say that I had mixed feelings about this book. Larry Brown is skillful at developing good characters and writing about place, in this case the Oxford, MS area, but I was having a little difficulty getting at the overall theme or point of the story. It opens with a young 20-something named Glen Davis being driven home by his brother following release from prison. Glen just served three yrs at Parchman for manslaughter after killing a young boy while driving drunk. One would think a little ...more
Donna Everhart
Jun 19, 2013 Donna Everhart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been on a Larry Brown kick since last October when I visited Square Books in Oxford MS and purchased LARRY BROWN, A WRITER'S LIFE. Larry Brown was born in Oxford, and his stories take place in small towns nearby, and throughout MS. After reading this biography by Jean Cash, I was so intrigued, I bought BIG BAD LOVE, FACING THE MUSIC, JOE, FAY, FATHER AND SON, BILLY RAY'S FARM, and A MIRACLE OF CATFISH. I think the only two books I don't have are DIRTY WORK and ON FIRE.

Either way, this is my
Apr 21, 2012 Ron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm giving this novel 4.5 stars and rounding up to 5. It's a good read, a page-turner; shocking at points, funny at others. As a story set in small town Mississippi during the 1960s, it invites comparison with Faulkner, and has plenty of Faulkner's melodrama, but without the convoluted prose style and endless sentences. In the opening pages there are two murders and the killing and mutilation of a monkey. This is followed by scenes of heavy drinking, desultory sex, rape, street fighting, shootin ...more
Sep 27, 2013 Yuki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I know it's very different setting, but I heard it all the time while reading Father and Son:

I was driving up from Tampa
When the radiator burst
I was three sheets to the wind
A civilian saw me first
And then there was the cop
And then the children standing on the corner
Your love is like a cyclone in a swamp
And the weather's getting warmer

I was getting out of jail
Heading to the Greyhound
You said you'd hop on one yourself
And meet me on the way down
I was shaking way too hard to think
Dead on my feet abo
Oct 16, 2013 William rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story is told in third person but with a lot of stream of consciousness thrown in, much like the last novel I'd read, American Rust by Phillipp Meyers. The problem with this technique, if it is a problem, is that it results in quite a bit of repetition from various characters' points of view which slow down the novel without necessarily advancing the plot. I have been fascinated by how these Southern writers employ Romantic elements, such as using the setting--time. landscape, and weather--t ...more
Jan 23, 2008 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: southern-grit
(written 6-03)

Wow. Larry Brown is a master craftsman - I like him even better in the novel form than in short stories. he gives you just the right hints, keeps you just enough in the dark to stay interested, reveals past events not through narrative but through natural speech, like it would actually happen. The southern slang dialogue is perfect. Glen's five days home after he gets out of prison are awful. He murders, rapes, gets drunk and wrecks his car, neglects his son, he's bad news. Refresh
Feb 10, 2017 Aramys rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had high hopes for this book going into it but I rapidly found myself surrounded by one dimensional characters, no one of which I could find likeable (except possibly David). Adding to my dislike was the fact that I found the tone dull. Sometimes a simple style adds to the story, but in this case there was no character development or plot twists to be enhanced by a minimal style.[return][return]I didn't dislike the book to an extreme because there was nothing in it to make me invest enough in ...more
Chilly SavageMelon
This is the first Brown I've read, sort of Bukowski (without the sardonic humor) meets Jim Thompson in the Southlands. Nice telling on the backstory of various interweaving characters and their current motivations. Brown brings something back from the land of misery and hangovers to create a novel everyone might relate too. Authentic in the telling, grit in the details. If nothing else, and homage to what a DUI paradise the rural 70's were...
Apr 08, 2014 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lisa by: Carol
Shelves: audio
I love a Southern novel and this one had all of the Southern elements. A great listen as the narrator had a true back country Mississippi red neck accent. May be too much for some listeners but as a former MS resident it wasn't too much for me. Suspense and down right unlikable characters. I remember many references to author Larry Brown from Booktopia Oxford authors and I finally read Larry Brown.
Jun 08, 2017 Stephenson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
solid southern gothic, heavy on the darkness. as a father to two sons, many of the passages hit home, and also made me glad that our lives aren't nearly as fucked as the fathers and sons in this novel. I love Larry Brown.
Mar 20, 2015 Doug rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who appreciates a good read
To qoute David Allan Coe, "...I told him it was not the perfect country and western song because he hadn't said anything at all about Mama. Or trains. Or trucks. Or prison. Or getting drunk."

Well, I contend that Larry Brown has written the perfect Southern novel. This book had drinking, fighting, cussing, and single-wide trailers. It had church, family, and community. In other words it had both the bad and the good of growing up in the rural South. It even had a monkey for goodness sake! I was b
Feb 10, 2013 Richard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, just when you thought Larry Brown could not get any more intense he surprises you once again. This is a brutal, menacing book. It unfolds as many of his books do slowly at first but building momentum till you feel like your standing on the tracks and have a ten ton freight train barreling at you. The story, as with all his books is deceptively simple. Glen, the main protagonist is released from jail and returns home to pick up his life where he left off, but time and people have moved on. T ...more
Feb 24, 2015 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first Larry Brown novel and, though it was overstuffed with a few too many descriptions of lighting cigarettes, puffing cigarettes, staring about with cigarettes in their hands, I still found it a novel worth reading. Not quite up there with McCarthy, William Gay or Harry Crewes, but still better than a 100 other authors being published.
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On the Southern L...: Father and Son, by Larry Brown, October 2013 28 56 Oct 28, 2013 11:30AM  
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Larry Brown was an American writer who was born and lived in Oxford, Mississippi. Brown wrote fiction and nonfiction. He graduated from high school in Oxford but did not go to college. Many years later, he took a creative writing class from the Mississippi novelist Ellen Dou
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