Billy Ray's Farm by Larry Brown
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.