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Publisher's Summary

An ALA Notable Book, Joe has earned critical acclaim nationwide, and Larry Brown has been compared to great Southern writers such as William Faulkner and Eudora Welty. Like them, Larry Brown has an unerring feel for the truest details of regional life.

The Mississippi countryside is Joe Ransom's world. There, whiskey, fast trucks, and a hard right fist are the badges of manhood. But middle age is approaching, and Joe tries to not think too much about the future. At 15, Gary Jones' life is painful and unpredictable. His days are spent avoiding his brutish father and caring for a damaged mother and sister. When Joe's and Gary's paths cross, the resulting friendship is a bizarre rite of passage for both of them.

Throughout the story, Brown deftly maintains a balance between action and destruction, compassion and compulsion. His characters are riveting; the conclusion is shocking. This novel will leave you astonished and grateful for Larry Brown, a major talent.

©1991 Larry Brown; (P)1996 Recorded Books, LLC

Critic Reviews

"Powerful...Brown comes into his own." (Publishers Weekly)
"Brown delivers....This raw and gritty novel ranks with the best hard-knocks, down-and-out work of Jim Thompson and Harry Crews. It's lean, mean, and original." (Kirkus Reviews)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
  • Beverly
  • Asheville, NC, USA
  • 04-04-08

Larry Brown

I cannot be objective about anything Larry Brown ever wrote. His humanity grabs me every time...with such a powerful grip that I would follow him page after page wherever he chose to take me. I shall miss him terribly. We have lost a giant.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Gritty Southern Alcoholism

What made the experience of listening to Joe the most enjoyable?

4.5 StarsLarry Brown always gave us gritty reality – a southern-baked, distilled variety of reality. And, “Joe” is another big dose. If you’re not up for riding around with Joe in his pickup while he guzzles vast amounts of whiskey and beer, you may want to put off reading “Joe” until you are. If you are not ready for heavy measures of the southern vernacular and watching degenerate alcoholics abuse all who love them and many others who do not, you may want to make a sunnier reading selection. On the other had if you are up for a taste of reality a la Larry Brown, get ready for another great bumpy ride through rural Mississippi. Oh, and you may want find your local Al-Anon meeting.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Larry Brown the best

Larry Brown may be the best writer of the American south ever. He uses a style all his own.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Powerful narrative

Strong characters, compelling story, what more could you ask? Though set in Mississippi, this is not a story of the Southern condition - it's a story of the Human condition.

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Roy
  • Gibbons,, AB, Canada
  • 10-08-12

mesmerzing

Would you consider the audio edition of Joe to be better than the print version?

yes - this superb reader builds a character with his voice - the story comes alive in a whole new way. His voicing of old man Wade is especially memorable.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Joe?

one of the funnier parts of the story was when Gary has his first encounter with a hooker and she tells him to go brush his teeth<br/><br/>Joe's relationship with the law is also memorable

What about Tom Stechschulte’s performance did you like?

so much to like. He handles the different voices so well without sounding contrived or affected - and his handling of the southern accent is remarkable. He gives each character such close attention. Wade sounds evil and Gary sounds pure and lost - its all Tom's doing

  • Overall
  • Lauri R
  • minneapolis, MN, USA
  • 09-04-04

Joe

as usual, Larry Brown writes a beauty.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Bradley
  • Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
  • 07-26-14

A day or two in the life of hillbillies.

Any additional comments?

What a disappointment! Audible's discription of the story is totally inaccurate. I want my credit back!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

So Boring

I must admit upfront that I enjoy entertaining writers such as Carl Hiason and Nelson Demille. Perhaps "Joe" is just too high-brow for me but I listened for about 90-minutes before giving-up on it. I have listened to a lot of books and Joe is one of the few that I just decided to "put-down" and look for something else.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful