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Lucky Town

1 rating: 5.0
A book by James Brown

In his fourth novel, Brown ( Hot Wire ) tells the intriguing story of Bobby Barlow, a teenaged boy growing up in the early '70s with a father who is more son than parent. Floyd Barlow is a laborer, gambler and occasional con man who drifts from one apartment … see full wiki

Tags: Books
Author: James Brown
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
1 review about Lucky Town

Like father...

  • Jun 14, 2010
Rating:
+5
I had to keep reminding myself while reading this novel that it was in fact a novel, not a memoir; Brown's narrative spins with such honesty, intensity and control, one begins to believe the voice of young Bobby Barlow as he relates the woeful tale of life on the lam with his father, Floyd. When Floyd is released from prison, he steals a car, picks up his son, and the two embark on an unintended quest to find some semblance of happiness--or at least stability. What renders this story so gripping is the use of the adolescent Bobby as narrator. We believe him because he is initially the naive victim rather than perpetrator, carried along by the influence and power of a dysfunctional father figure. I have to confess, the character of Floyd Barlow was so much like my wicked step-father I felt at times like Brown was channeling the man, and it is perhaps why this novel seemed so like a memoir to me; I could have been Bobby relating some of those conversations with a father figure who in some ways refuses to see the world as it really is, in others, sees it more realistically than most people.

Brown's brilliant, tight prose is the foundation for this novel, and I hope to see future work in which he explores the volatility of family dynamics.

Highly recommended.

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