When writer Larry Brown died suddenly in 2004 at the age of fifty-three, he left behind an almost completed sixth novel that embodies all the talent and tenacity of his hard-driven life. Set in the low hills just outside Oxford, Mississippi, very close to Larry Brown's own home, A Miracle of Catfish is the story of one year in the lives of four men and one little boy. Connecting and suffusing their stories is Brown's brooding contemplation of fatherhood. There is Cortez Sharp, a farmer with a terrible secret and a newly dug pond he is stocking with catfish. Tommy Bright, from Arkansas, has a fish-stocking business he's all but gambled away. Cleve, a black neighbor down the road, has a daughter who's taken up with a man so unworthy he doesn't deserve to live. Little Jimmy, whose daddy gave him a go-kart, has the bad luck to have been born to that daddy, a man beyond redemption. And then there's Ursula, the mother of all catfish, who has her own secret life near the bottom of Cortez's pond. In A Miracle of Catfish, Larry Brown's trademark clarity and tenderness, humanity and humor, have been honed to a brilliant edge.
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