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Billy Ray's Farm

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  257 ratings  ·  20 reviews
In his first work of nonfiction since the acclaimed "On Fire," Brown aims for nothing short of ruthlessly capturing the truth of the world in which he has always lived. In the prologue to the book, he tells what it's like to be constantly compared with William Faulkner, a writer with whom he shares inspiration from the Mississippi land. The essays that follow show that inf ...more
ebook, 216 pages
Published April 1st 2001 by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill (first published 2001)
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I have, had, and will continue to have such respect for Larry Brown--first off, that this man quite simply decided to be a writer one day, and from there worked his butt off to make that happen. His tales of writing several novels and over a hundred short stories before he wrote anything that he considered the work of a writer is quite simply archetypal. When there seems to be some concern about the effect of prodigious MFA program on the state and audience of writing, Larry Brown reminded us th ...more
Diann Blakely
Brown’s new nonfiction collection pulls no punches with its reader; moreover, it spares its author nothing. Which isn’t to say that this new book will put Brown alongside those memoirists who mistakenly equate their genre with verbal exhibitionism. The title piece and “The Whore in Me” are so tough, so grown-up, and so mercilessly wise that I want to punch in the noses of the lazy-ass reviewers who continue to categorize Brown as “king of the white trash.” Labels are cheap; self-knowledge is not ...more
Diann Blakely
In BILLY RAY'S FARM, as in ON FIRE and Brown's fiction, he pulls no punches with his readers; moreover, BILLY RAY'S FARM spares its author nothing. Which isn’t to say that this new book will put Brown alongside those memoirists who mistakenly equate their genre with verbal exhibitionism. The title piece and “The Whore in Me” are so tough, so grown-up, and so mercilessly wise that I want to punch in the noses of the lazy-ass reviewers who continue to categorize Brown as “king of the white trash.” ...more
Mark Ewing
A great look inside the daily life of a man who became an author through hard work. Another great writer who stepped off the mortal coil far to soon.
I don't read much nonfiction, not because I don't care for it but because I spend my time reading and writing fiction, learning the craft in part from those who've done it better than I might ever hope to. But this collection of essays--with its talk of book tours and relationships with other writers, specifically Harry Crews, that dirty old bastard who comes off more sweet than anything else here--can teach you a thing or two about community and following your instincts, your internal voice. I ...more
Robert Vander
This was a nice quick read. I've had heard about his troubles, his sensitivity to place, the comparisons to Faulkner and I am aware he died young. It turns out much of his work is currently out of print. I have an interest in things agrarian. A collection of essays seemed to be a fine place to get a feel for Larry Brown's writing. It was exactly that. Several of the essays discuss his initiation into the literary world. He discusses with honesty his struggle to find his voice in letters and wher ...more
Aug 17, 2011 Ann rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who enjoys books about the rural south
Recommended to Ann by: cannot recall but thank you very much!
The only criticism I have of Larry Brown's "Billy Ray's Farm" is that I wish it was longer. Larry Brown died some years ago at quite a young age and I had to find second hand copies through Amazon--I never intend to sell them. Billy Ray's Farm is a selection of fictional essays although Larry Brown's did have a son named Billy Ray. As all his books, it is set in rural Mississippi with very true to life people riding around with coolers of beer in the back seat of their cars, going about everyday ...more
B.L. Tucker
Not being one to naturally gravitate towards nonfiction, I'm floored by this work. Larry Brown was a champ. I finally see it.
Collection of essays by the late Larry Brown - probably some of the most beautiful writings about the redneck life ever crafted. I don't think I've ever been as sad as when Brown, writing about his son's inability to make his farm profitable, wrote, 'I can't understand why everything my son touches turns to shit," after Billy Ray (he of the farm in the title) has a cow die on him while it's trying to give birth. Could one sentence ever capture the modern American south so fully? I think I cried ...more
I began reading Larry Brown's work in the 80's after reading an interview with Harry Crews. There is an essay in this book about their friendship.
Larry writes about a number of gifted authors including Madison Jones, an influence on Crews.
What strikes me most about Larry's writing is how honest, simple and emotional it is.
I spent some time in Oxford MS which is also home to the great Living Blues Magazine and Fat Possum Records. It's like an oasis in Misssissippi.
More like 3.5 stars. I like Brown's very simple prose. A working man's writer.
Oh, I love that Larry Brown. I had set this aside, though, thinking only his fiction could light my fire, and this looked like some boring essays on cattle ranching and thinking about maybe going to a fish haul. But they turned out to be great. I sure like the way he talks.
Larry Brown dishes out some essays about living in rural Mississippi. It's classic Brown: no nonsense, spare writing, no phoniness whatsoever. Great writing. Some of the essays subject matter was more interesting than others or this would have rated higher for me.
Getting back to my Southern roots with the late, great Larry Brown. These essays are, for the most part, soothing, which is just what I need right now. 12/9 updating the old shelves etc. Finished this one a while back--great book
Diana Matei
I love, love, love Larry Brown. I think his writing is so soothing and simple and feels very earnest and from the heart. However, I could never get into this one. Least favorite for sure.
Although I know basically nothing about farming or farm life, Larry Brown's writing is engaging and amusing. The title essay, "Billy Ray's Farm," is particularly sharp.
Larry Brown writes about spending time at his friend Billy Ray's farm. He has many adventures learning how to raise cows and goats.
Loved the fish catch story.
Pretty interesting short story collection intro into modern southern gothic.
Larry the husband and father. The delicate love he had for his family comes through.
Mike Walsh
Nonfiction musings on his life and son's farming misadventures.
John marked it as to-read
Dec 16, 2014
Hosho marked it as to-read
Dec 06, 2014
Patricia marked it as to-read
Oct 27, 2014
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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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