Father and Son by Larry Brown
I hate realism. Truly. It’s my least favorite genre. But, the list is unforgiving, and I must follow the call. I wanted a recommendation from a friend who reads completely different works than I do, and did I ever hit paydirt with this one.
Father and Son is the hard as nails story of Virgil Davis and Glen Davis, father and son. It’s also the story of other fathers and sons in the book, but I don’t want to give any spoilers. Set in 1968 Mississippi, the characters are harsh and prospects for what most of us would consider a happy life are bleak. Glen Davis has just been released from prison and most people aren’t throwing anything close to a welcome party. Glen has always been bad news and those who know him are just waiting to see what trouble of his own making will befall him next. They don’t even have time to pop the popcorn…
Bad things happen when Glen is around. Bloody, dreadful, life-altering tragedies. Glen is so mired in his own misery and hatred, he can’t stop his behavior. In fact, he doesn’t want to stop his behavior. He is a psychopathic juggernaut launching into this small town, smack in the middle of secrets and lies, bringing death and destruction as his two best friends. There isn’t much to like about Glen. Nothing, in fact, that I can find. Even as his past is disclosed, Glen is so awful that I really just didn’t care why he is the way he is. Over the he five days that the novel takes place, I just hated him more and more. There is murder, rape, the senseless killing of animals… Truthfully, I skimmed a lot of the book because I just couldn’t read the details and I wanted the whole thing to be over. However, a lot of people love this type of story (Oprah, that’s why I’m not in your book club), so please try this one if that type is story speaks to you.
Despite my not liking the story it has to tell, Father and Son is well written and has great reviews. This link to a NoveList review goes into much more detail regarding the plot, but there are spoilers! Author Larry Brown is compared to the “Other” author from Mississippi, Mr. Stark Realism King himself, William Faulkner. I’m also not a Faulkner fan, so there you go. Not to say I don’t appreciate the bare bones writing and the grit in the storytelling, but it just doesn’t appeal to me. I like my murder and mayhem dressed up in fantasy. However, I did try something new and that’s what reading lists are all about!