Books

Open City Books
Open City Books
Open City Books

Why the Devil Chose New England for His Work

Stories

by Jason Brown

“One quality that makes these stories feel unmistakably new is Brown’s . . . seamless, oddly cinematic shifts among points of view. . . . He has a gift for crisp, angular sentences, some of which are embedded with a quiet humor.” —Time Out New York

  • Imprint Open City Books
  • Page Count 288
  • Publication Date November 22, 2007
  • ISBN-13 978-1-8904-4747-2
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $14.00
  • Imprint Open City Books
  • Publication Date November 22, 2007
  • ISBN-13 978-1-8904-4764-9
  • US List Price $14.00

About The Book

“Everything Natalie said seemed, to herself, to have been said better by him. He was less fond of speaking, however, than he was of hitting people in the face, which seemed a more likely source of her love to those of us who knew him,” begins Jason Brown’s linked collection of beautifully haunted, violent, and wry stories set in the densely forested lands of northern New England.

In these tales of forbidden love, runaway children, patrimony, alcohol, class, inheritance, and survival, Brown’s elegant prose emits both quiet despair and a poignant sense of hope and redemption. These vivid accounts of troubled lives combine the powerful family drama of Andre Dubus and Russell Banks, the dark wit of Denis Johnson, the lost souls of Charles D’Ambrosio, and the New England gothic of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Jason Brown’s exquisitely crafted second collection will establish him as one of the most important voices in American short fiction.

Praise

“Jason Brown’s comic take on America today is both amazing and memorable. . . . He is one of the most brilliant and original new writers to appear for a long time.” —Alison Lurie

“Jason Brown’s stories are told with Rick Moody’s brio and Denis Johnson’s feel for deadpan wit purposefully juxtaposed against calamity.” —Jim Shepard

“The narrators of Brown’s second book of stories are mostly watchers—witnesses to sordid events in the fictional town of Vaughn, Maine. Through their eyes, the familiar routines of small-town life are transmogrified into emblematic ugliness. Some of the stories deal with Maine’s twin preoccupations with boats and lumber, but the strongest anatomize the town with stunning emotional precision.” —The New Yorker

“The fact that Brown’s stories read like allegories makes them no less surprising; what is most original about them is, in fact, their sincerity. . . . Imagine The Virgin Suicides within an ethical framework. These are stories that truly have some weight to them.” —Bookforum

“One quality that makes these stories feel unmistakably new is Brown’s . . . seamless, oddly cinematic shifts among points of view. . . . He has a gift for crisp, angular sentences, some of which are embedded with a quiet humor.” —Time Out New York

“In Jason Brown’s fine story collection . . . the inhabitants of Vaughn, Maine, are stalked not by Stephen King horror but by intimate afflictions of blood, accident, and history. Yet their stories are too vivid to be entirely bleak. Maine’s woods and rivers, its changing light, are the beautifully rendered constants in a harsh, even malevolent, world.” —Boston Globe

“Readers of Jason Brown’s newest collection . . . will revel in these stories set in a single Maine town. Bordering on allegory, they offer a timeless look at the ways people confront bleak circumstances. . . . Like the work of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Brown’s stories render the Gothic mysteries of Maine’s forests, homing in on psychological evils rather than the demented horrors of Stephen King. But as Sherwood Anderson did in Winesburg, Ohio, Brown also captures the pulse of rural life and its small, hidden disturbances.” —Cleveland Plain Dealer

“A-.” —Entertainment Weekly