Books: Larry Brown's Inner Fire

The fireman turned novelist burns with passion for the rootless denizens of his native Mississippi

In Larry Brown's novels, characters rarely enter their cars without stocking them first with coolers of beer. So maybe it shouldn't come as that much of a surprise when, in real life, Brown grabs a couple of Budweisers before sliding behind the wheel for an automobile tour of the back roads near his home just north of Oxford, Miss. As he drives, Brown, 48, points out the homes of his mother, his cousin and his wife's cousin. "My kinfolk have lived here for generations," he says. "I've been to a lot of places, and I've never found any one I like...

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