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A Faithful But Melancholy Account of Several Barbarities Lately Committed (Paperback)
"This book is stunning.
Similar in feeling to Howard Frank Mosher’s depictions of the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont (my own home), Brown’s writing is hazy with the glow of nostalgia, yet studded with dialog that brings characters sharply into focus, linking them to the landscapes that made them and turning them into people you swear you’ll find on the street and are delighted to encounter again on subsequent pages.
Brown’s linked stories, all of which follow members of the Howland family, are beautifully written, haunting depictions of life in Maine, though they could really be anywhere in northern New England where Puritan stock still lingers, tied to the land that is far from easy to survive on. There is a balance between the land, the ocean, the rivers that make up the state of Maine and the richly developed characters that inhabit the places in question.
Each story is compelling in its own way—some give you a little bit of anxiety about how they’re going to turn out, others make you sigh with relief that you aren’t a member of the Howland family, others make you long for a simpler time, a life without constant connection to everyone everywhere. All of them leave you feeling like you’ve been rudely deposited back into your real life, one that is just a little less wonderful, a little less “Maine” than what Brown created.
A must read for Mainers. Whether you’re from an old Maine family or a recent arrival, this book will speak to you."
--Lucinda, Longfellow Books— From Lucinda Recommends!
Fiction. The ten linked stories in Jason Brown's A FAITHFUL BUT MELANCHOLY ACCOUNT OF SEVERAL BARBARITIES LATELY COMMITTED follow John Howland and his descendants as they struggle with their New England legacy as one of the country's founding families and the decaying trappings of that esteemed past. Set on the Maine coast, where the Howland family has lived for almost 400 years, the grandfather, John Howland, lives in a fantasy that still places him at the center of the world. The next generation resides in the confused ruins of the 1960s rebellion, while many in the third generation feel they have no choice but to scatter in search of a new identity. Brown's touching, humorous portrait of a great family in decline earns him a place among the very best linked-story collections--James Joyce's Dubliners, Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio, Alice Munro's Beggar Maid and Denis Johnson's Jesus' Son.