Fay by Larry Brown
A Novel

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She's had no education, hardly any shelter, and you can't call what her father's been trying to give her since she grew up "love." So, at the ripe age of seventeen, Fay Jones leaves home.

She lights out alone, wearing her only dress and rotting sneakers, carrying a purse with a half pack of cigarettes and two dollar bills. Even in 1985 Mississippi, two dollars won't go far on the road. She's headed for the bright lights and big times and even she knows she needs help getting there. But help's not hard to come by when you look like Fay.

There's a highway patrolman who gives her a lift, with a detour to his own place. There are truck drivers who pull over to pick her up, no questions asked. There's a crop duster pilot with money for a night or two on the town. And finally there's a strip joint bouncer who deals on the side.

At the end of this suspenseful, compulsively readable novel, there are five dead bodies stacked up in Fay's wake. Fay herself is sighted for the last time in New Orleans. She'll make it, whatever making it means, because Fay's got what it takes: beauty, a certain kind of innocent appeal, and the instinct for survival.

Set mostly in the seedy beach bars, strip joints, and massage parlors of Biloxi, Mississippi, back before the casinos took over, Fay is a novel that only Larry Brown, the reigning king of Grit Lit, could have written. As the New York Times Book Review once put it, he's "a writer absolutely confident of his own voice. He knows how to tell a story."


About Larry Brown

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Larry Brown was born in Lafayette County, Mississippi, where he lived all his life. At the age of thirty, a captain in the Oxford Fire Department, he decided to become a writer and worked toward that goal for seven years before publishing his first book, Facing the Music, a collection of stories, in 1988. With the publication of his first novel, Dirty Work, he quit the fire station in order to write fulltime. Between then and his untimely death in 2004, he published seven more books. His three grown children and his widow, Mary Annie Brown, live near Oxford.
Published March 31, 2000 by Algonquin Books. 498 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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She leaves Aaron, attempting to return to Sam, and the three converge in a skillfully deployed and violent finale that confirms Brown’s close kinship both with crime novelist Jim Thompson and with that underrated master of literate southern melodrama, Erskine Caldwell.

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Book Reporter

Larry Brown dedicates FAY, his latest novel, to Harry Crews, "my uncle in all ways but blood."

Jan 24 2011 | Read Full Review of Fay: A Novel

The Independent

Just like the great magazine writers of our times - Sally Brampton, Paula Yates, Mary Killen - Weldon makes gossip an end in itself.

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ForeWord Reviews

Reena, the stripper who seemingly takes Fay under her wing, but whose true motives are revealed later.

Feb 14 2000 | Read Full Review of Fay: A Novel

Boston Review

Brown deploys his considerable forces as a storyteller to create a deft narrative counterpoint that cuts back and forth between Sam’s obsessive longing for Fay and the tense circumstances of Fay’s new life with denizens of the seamier side of the longed-for coast--notably Aaron, a strip-c...

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