Author conversation features Brown, Russo – Belfast – Waldo – Republican Journal – Republican Journal

Posted: March 9, 2021 at 1:13 pm

Belfast The public is invited to a virtual conversation on Tuesday, March 23, at 7 p.m. when Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Richard Russo and debut author Gregory Brown discuss Browns just-released novel, "The Lowering Days." The free event is co-hosted by Left Bank Books in Belfast and the Bangor Daily News.

"The Lowering Days" is set in a fictional town on the Penobscot River in Midcoast Maine. The towns paper mill, which provided paychecks while it polluted the water, is shuttered. Just as Japanese investors show interest in reopening the mill, a teenage girl from the Penobscot National Tribe sets fire to the plant. Some townspeople see her defiant action as an act of environmental justice; many others call it criminal mischief. Her act sets loose a series of long simmering grievances, ending in a cycle of violence that tears the communityand two familiesapart.

The narrator of Browns novel is a doctor who, in looking back at his teens in the 1990s, sees the fire as the catalyst that brought social and environmental change to his community, while at the same time changed the trajectory of his life. In his telling of the story, he conjures a rich understory of water, air and forestsreflecting on how they are seen and used, and what they mean in the deepest reaches of a cultures memory.

In a recent interview with the Bangor Daily News, Brown, who grew up in Belfast in the 1980s and 1990s, said his story is a mixture of all the various pockets of the Midcoast and along the Penobscot River that I absorbed. The fiction that often interests me the most is that kind that lets the mythology and folklore of a place shine out from behind the recognizable, real-life details.

Kerri Arsenault, author of "Mill Town" and a correspondent for The Boston Globe, writes that Browns most urgent story. . . is one that has largely been untolda modern day Penobscot National reckoning with the manacles of the past.

Richard Russo ("Chances Are," "Empire Falls," "Everybodys Fool"), Browns conversational partner on March 23, calls the novel a lush, almost mythic portrait of a very specific place and time that feels all the more universal for its singularity. Theres magic here.

Brown holds a masters degree in journalism from Columbia University and a masters in fine arts from the prestigious Iowa Writers Workshop. His work has appeared in Tin House, The Alaska Quarterly Review, Epoch, and Narrative Magazine. He has received scholarships and fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the Bread Loaf Writers Conference. He lives in Cumberland County, Maine with his family.

To order copies of "The Lowering Days," call Left Bank Books at 207-338-9009 or email info@leftbankbookshop.com.

To register for the free event, visit leftbankbookshop.com and click on the events tab or click here.

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Author conversation features Brown, Russo - Belfast - Waldo - Republican Journal - Republican Journal

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