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Group Reads: Post-1990 > Fay, by Larry Brown: Initial Impressions, November 2014

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message 1: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
Here is the place to begin discussion of Fay by Larry Brown. No spoilers, please, unless you hide them with the appropriate html code.


Jane | 753 comments I am on page 100 and Larry Brown s style has blown me away.

This is the first novel I have read of his. Slow paced, detailed and full of suspense.


Jane | 753 comments thanks to Mike for starting this thread.


message 4: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
Jane wrote: "thanks to Mike for starting this thread."

Well, it's my job. *laughing* And, I'm late, too! However, I hope the group will give me a little leeway. It's not every day a fella gets to meet Ernest J. Gaines. You can catch my update under the thread Southern Book Festivals to be posted today.


message 5: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane Barnes | 4115 comments Mod
I have finished Fay and loved every word of it. She is a memorable character in more ways than one. It was the kind of book that stays in your mind; I had to read a light humor book as a "cleanser" before I could start another piece of fiction.


Jane | 753 comments I can t put this down up to page 175 but how can we discuss it without spoilers? ...;)


message 7: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane Barnes | 4115 comments Mod
Jane, I just set up a new topic for Fay where we can discuss the book without worrying about giving anything away. Those who haven't read it yet can just avoid that thread until they've finished.


Jane | 753 comments Sounds like a good idea ,great Diane.


Jane | 753 comments In Fay Larry Brown has succeeded in creating a fascinating but troubling character.Her excessive reactions to events cannot be condoned but Brown reminds us each time, because of her abusive upbringing "she knew no better". Surely the other characters she meets should have known better ?

Only up to Chris Dodd's oyster and gumbo indulgence but wow Brown s novel has as much suspense as a Hitchcock movie.


message 10: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane Barnes | 4115 comments Mod
I had almost the same experience as Fay at facing my first raw oysters. My date took me out to dinner for my 21st birthday to a very fancy restaurant. When he asked if I wanted an oyster cocktail, I thought it was a drink. Of course I couldn't admit how stupid I was when the waiter sat them on the table. So I ate one, and it took everything I had not to throw up. I pushed them to his side of the table and claimed I was watching my weight. I do love oysters now, but still can't eat them raw.


message 11: by Jane (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jane | 753 comments Oh Diane,I know I used to love them too until I got food poisoning on a bad one and ended up very nearly in hospital now I can t look at them shame for Chris that he liked them so much ;)


message 12: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
Jane wrote: "Oh Diane,I know I used to love them too until I got food poisoning on a bad one and ended up very nearly in hospital now I can t look at them shame for Chris that he liked them so much ;)"

A note on raw oysters: It has commonly been held that oysters should not be consumed during months which do not contain the letter "R." Of course, that includes the summer months. During the old days, oysters harvested in warm waters were taken from waters known as "red tides" containing large quantities of red algae carrying toxins which were consumed along with the oysters. That combined with insufficient refrigeration could result in fatal results.

A famous example. Admiral Raphael Semmes, Commander of the Confederate raider, the C.S.S. Alabama, survived the Civil War, including the sinking of the Alabama by the U.S.S. Kearsarge off the coast of Cherbourg, France.

 photo 330px-Captain_Raphael_Semmes_and_First_Lieutenant_John_Kell_aboard_CSS_Alabama_1863_zps118694c0.jpg
The Confederate Raider Admiral Raphael Semmes

Following the war, Semmes resided in Mobile, Alabama. The residents of Mobile presented Semmes with a home. Semmes carried on a legal practice there.

 photo 330px-Admiral_Semmes_House_02_zpsb366e3bf.jpg

Semmes died August 30, 1877 after eating contaminated shrimp and oysters.

 photo oyster-gray_zps75ec7834.jpg
The innocent oyster

These days, oysters are harvested from cold climates. The threat of toxins is no longer the hazard it once was, though risks can still exist, if you don't know the source of the harvest. I consider them a delicacy, but fork them on a cracker and spoon my own spicy cocktail sauce over them. Not a raw oyster fan? Consider the many baked and broiled variations. The recipes are endless and delicious.

Your trivial pursuit question for the day. Andalusia rolls her eyes.


message 13: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane Barnes | 4115 comments Mod
Mike, what is it about you guys and the need to educate us less informed mortals? I've always said about Billy - "If you ask him how to flush a commode, he'll tell you how to build the bathroom." I am rolling my eyes with Andalusia, and laughing. But thanks for the info, it's always interesting.


message 14: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
Diane wrote: "Mike, what is it about you guys and the need to educate us less informed mortals? I've always said about Billy - "If you ask him how to flush a commode, he'll tell you how to build the bathroom." ..."

As Andalusia always informs me, "I am a fount of worthless information." Maybe it is a guy thing. I just find stuff like this fascinating. *laughing* I'm jealous that y'all are ahead of me. I'm making my way through The Confessions of Nat Turner. And if you think I'm bad here--well, I'm really going to have fun with THAT thread. *grin* Looking forward to seeing you and Billy after Thanksgiving! Same place????


message 15: by Jane (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jane | 753 comments WONDERFUL MIKE Love it


message 16: by Jane (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jane | 753 comments What I love about Brown s characters is that they are all unpredictable -however, Aaron s plane "incident" is rather far fetched for me but not altogether out of character either .


message 17: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
Jane wrote: "What I love about Brown s characters is that they are all unpredictable -however, Aaron s plane "incident" is rather far fetched for me but not altogether out of character either ."

Arrrrgghhh! I am eager to catch up with y'all. However, I am dutifully forging on with The Confessions of Nat Turner.


message 18: by Ned (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ned | 31 comments Mike, you are scaring me about Confessions... it just arrived in my mail and I hope it is not like duty or labor....


message 19: by Jane (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jane | 753 comments Confessions is amazing in my opinion


Larry Bassett | 0 comments In beginning Fay, I am pulled in by the words that take me into the experience of a life of poverty of a young woman. The lengthy detours into the life of patrolman Sam are less interesting to me. The fact that he was sent/called to the sites of the deadly car accidents of both his daughter and wife seems horrible. Wouldn't actual police procedure (even in a small town) be different?


message 21: by Jane (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jane | 753 comments I agree, Larry, some parts of the plot are a little thin and drawn out but it still remains a thoroughly good read for me -just finished it


Larry Bassett | 0 comments Jane wrote: "I agree, Larry, some parts of the plot are a little thin and drawn out but it still remains a thoroughly good read for me -just finished it"

It is a long book, nearly 500 pages, and that in itself is somewhat daunting to me. But the novelty of reading it on my still new Kindle and iPhone add something to its attraction, I must admit. But Larry Brown shouldn't get any credit for that!


message 23: by Jane (last edited Nov 08, 2014 11:16AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jane | 753 comments No you are quite right,Larry he should n t ;)


message 24: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane Barnes | 4115 comments Mod
Larry, he was a highway patrolman, and they are always called to the scene of accidents. There would be no way for the dispatcher to know whose car it was, or who was in the car. But his being on the scene for both of them was stretching it a little.


Larry Bassett | 0 comments I read someplace that Joe really should come before Fay but I guess we are not doing that.


message 26: by Ned (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ned | 31 comments I read Joe then Fay, agree Larry


Larry Bassett | 0 comments Fay is sure something, a 17-year-old murder who doesn't know you have to be 18 to buy beer! Oops, is that a spoiler?


sappho_reader One should read Joe before Fay to understand why Fay left her family abruptly in the first place and her horrible father. Joe is Fay's brother.


message 29: by Karen (new)

Karen Diane wrote: "I had almost the same experience as Fay at facing my first raw oysters. My date took me out to dinner for my 21st birthday to a very fancy restaurant. When he asked if I wanted an oyster cocktail..."

That's funny! Sort of, I can't even look at oysters. One of the reasons I married my husband was because I knew I could have told him I thought it was a drink and feel comfortable with him laughing about it. I have done things like that countless times, and he is the only man I ever felt comfortable exposing my flaky persona.
I'm not calling you flaky.


message 30: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane Barnes | 4115 comments Mod
Thanks, MSJ. I've been wondering what the relationship was, I'll read Joe next. The movie is on Netflix streaming, have you seen it yet? I'll wait til I've read the book to watch it.


sappho_reader No Diane, I have not seen the movie (yet). Let us know your thoughts when you do.


message 32: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane Barnes | 4115 comments Mod
Karen, I WAS flaky when I was 21. The guy was 10 years older than me, and so suave, there's no way I could have admitted my ignorance to him. The relationship didn't last, and by the time I met my husband, 10 years later, I was MUCH smarter.


message 33: by Karen (new)

Karen I'm still flaky. It used to bother me, but my husband likened it to a Gracie Allen flakiness, and she was funny!!!
I don't like suave men- something fishy about them.


message 34: by Josh (new) - added it

Josh | 185 comments Diane, don't watch Joe before reading it. The movie is close to the same storyline, but as a movie it doesn't "hit" like the book. I enjoyed the movie, but only because I had first read the book.


sappho_reader I read Fay last winter. I really liked the character Fay and was fearful something bad would happen to her on her journey. She was always so vulnerable. I only rated this book 3 stars due to Larry Brown's tendency to describe every single detail was frustrating at times for me. He showed little restraint. I remember there was a long passage of the male cop setting fishing traps in the lake that just went on and on in detail but was really not integral to the plot itself. Instead he could have just written "and he set fishing traps on the other side of the lake" and left it at that. I did not think this had to be a 400+ page book.


message 36: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
Larry wrote: "I read someplace that Joe really should come before Fay but I guess we are not doing that."

Morning, Larry! Nope, we're not doing that. But you can!

There's a dark & a troubled side of life
There's a bright, there's a sunny side, too
Tho' we meet with the darkness and strife
The sunny side we also may view

Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side,
Keep on the sunny side of life
It will help us ev'ry day, it will brighten all the way
If we'll keep on the sunny side of life


It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood. *smile*


LA Cantrell | 1312 comments I watched "Joe" a few weeks ago and was taken by the performance of the homeless man who was hired, literally, off the street to co-star with Nicholas Cage. It is powerfully done.

I have zero desire to ever see it again, however. Nicholas Cage, IMO, may possibly be a screaming alcoholic to have bought the film rights to this movie and then star in it. Like "Leaving Las Vegas" in many ways...with a touch of redemption chucked in.

I preferred this to "Fay" but Brown's work is still way too depressing for me to enjoy. At least the movie is only two hours, not a 20 hour immersion in the book.


message 38: by Randy (new)

Randy (randy_thornhorn) | 57 comments Mike wrote: "Larry wrote: "I read someplace that Joe really should come before Fay but I guess we are not doing that."

Morning, Larry! Nope, we're not doing that. But you can!


There's a dark & a trouble..."



Thank you, kindly, Mother Maybelle.

R.


message 39: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
Randy wrote: "Thank you, kindly, Mother Maybelle.

R. "


Whoooeeee, Brother Thornhorn, I'll take that. They did some fine, fine music. I especially thought the selections for the Soundtrack of Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? were marvelously chosen. I picked up the subsequent disc, "Down from the Mountain," too. It was particularly poignant to know those were some of John Hart's last recordings.


message 40: by Randy (new)

Randy (randy_thornhorn) | 57 comments Yes, Brother Sullivan, the soundtrack was very fine indeed (as were The Carter Family). I had some issues with the film that others apparently did not. But I was already very steeped in bluegrass and bluegrass lore, using it in my work,, so it was amazing to suddenly see such a focus on the music in a major Hollywood film. You may be aware, but they also did a "Down From The Mountain" live tour. (Were you thinking of John Hartford? He was a great loss and one of the "newgrass" pioneers in the resurgence of the music, decades before it became trendy.)


message 41: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
Randy wrote: "Yes, Brother Sullivan, the soundtrack was very fine indeed (as were The Carter Family). I had some issues with the film that others apparently did not. But I was already very steeped in bluegrass a..."

Yes, indeed, it was Hartford. His recording of "Big Rock Candy Mountain" remains one of my favorites. I knew about the tour but didn't make it.


message 42: by Josh (new) - added it

Josh | 185 comments Skimming this thread only, but as a child I sat and listened to John Hartford, Roy Acuff, Frazier Moss and several others in my friend's living room (fellow musicians) on several occasions. At the time I had no appreciation for who John was only remembering he was always kind, engaging, friendly, and fun (and probably stoned). Only later would I look back and realize his importance.


message 43: by Josh (new) - added it

Josh | 185 comments I may have accidentally deleted someone's comment.......blame it on the iphone. Unintentional if I did.


message 44: by Randy (last edited Nov 09, 2014 07:02PM) (new)

Randy (randy_thornhorn) | 57 comments Yes, my comment was deleted. I was telling Brother Sullivan to give a listen to this YouTube video of "The Yellow Rose of Texas", sung by Hoyt Axton with John Hartford harmonizing. Both were in their final years:

http://youtu.be/25vzjU-C3dg

(So few today understand the allusion to the "Yellow Rose" in the song.)


message 45: by Josh (last edited Nov 09, 2014 09:14PM) (new) - added it

Josh | 185 comments Randy wrote: "Yes, my comment was deleted. I was telling Brother Sullivan to give a listen to this YouTube video of "The Yellow Rose of Texas", sung by Hoyt Axton with John Hartford harmonizing. Both were in the..."

Oh My Goodness!!! This clip. The living room I referenced in the above clip was none other than the blond singing in this one. Kris Ballinger was the mother of one of my childhood friends. They performed for the longest under the band name "The Cluster Pluckers" and now as The Ballinger Family Band; their youngest son is quite the phenom, playing mostly Mandolin but also guitar, etc. Small world, and what a coiencidence. Thanks for sharing.


message 46: by Randy (new)

Randy (randy_thornhorn) | 57 comments Yes, Josh, I find that clip very touching and heartbreakingly gentle. And it is quite the coincidence that you had such a connection to it. By the way, have you ever seen Del McCoury? I think the Del McCoury Band (mostly Del and his sons) may actually be the greatest bluegrass band of all time, even better (gasp) than the founding father, Bill Monroe. McCoury was also once Bill Monroe's lead singer.


Larry Bassett | 0 comments I am posting this comment in "initial impressions" since I have not yet finished the book. Maybe Fay will give me more hope in the last hundred pages!

The book drags in too many places. There are some four star sections, for sure, but there is too much that is not essential to understanding the life and choices of Fay. I was distracted by the people she runs into. They are sad excuses for humanity for the most part. They pass their time doing little if anything of value. Fay spends her time realizing that fact but apparently unable to alter her course in relationship to them. We see both her potential and her failure to achieve that potential. It is frustrating to see Fay come so short of her potential.



message 48: by Larry (last edited Nov 12, 2014 01:40PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Larry Bassett | 0 comments Randy wrote: Thank you, kindly, Mother Maybelle.


I was humming that tune from the Will the Circle Be Unbroken album as I was reading Mike's "be upbeat" post. Wish I still had that platter.

(later) But with the modern miracle of iTunes, I am listening to Maybelle right this minute!


Larry Bassett | 0 comments Mike wrote: "Morning, Larry! Nope, we're not doing that. But you can!"

Now he tells me. Taking direction was never one of my strong points! That is, when to and when not to.


message 50: by Meran (new) - added it

Meran | 126 comments Mike wrote: "Diane wrote: "Mike, what is it about you guys and the need to educate us less informed mortals? I've always said about Billy - "If you ask him how to flush a commode, he'll tell you how to build t..."

It's not a guy thing. BEfore the advent of google (and the internet) I was known as The Oracle. Because I knew all kinds of (to most people) useless info. However, I was very good at Trivial Pursuit. Except once I played with someone, I wasn't allowed back ;)

btw, that Month with an R in it rule still holds. Two years ago, a friend got sick on them at a reputable place… and they were cooked.

Also, I LOVE them raw… they're sweet. The trick is not to hold them in your mouth and chew them… swallow them down fast. (my mom's Turkey Day stuffing had oysters in it. Many people loved it when I made it but once they found out, they refused to eat my stuffing any more until I stopped using them. Made me very sad, since I can't eat a whole load of stuffing by myself. :( )


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