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She's had no education, hardly any shelter, and you can't call what her father's been trying to give her since she grew up "love." So, at the ripe age of seventeen, Fay Jones leaves home.

She lights out alone, wearing her only dress and rotting sneakers, carrying a purse with a half pack of cigarettes and two dollar bills. Even in 1985 Mississippi, two dollars won't go far on the road. She's headed for the bright lights and big times and even she knows she needs help getting there. But help's not hard to come by when you look like Fay.

There's a highway patrolman who gives her a lift, with a detour to his own place. There are truck drivers who pull over to pick her up, no questions asked. There's a crop duster pilot with money for a night or two on the town. And finally there's a strip joint bouncer who deals on the side.

At the end of this suspenseful, compulsively readable novel, there are five dead bodies stacked up in Fay's wake. Fay herself is sighted for the last time in New Orleans. She'll make it, whatever making it means, because Fay's got what it takes: beauty, a certain kind of innocent appeal, and the instinct for survival.

Set mostly in the seedy beach bars, strip joints, and massage parlors of Biloxi, Mississippi, back before the casinos took over, Fay is a novel that only Larry Brown, the reigning king of Grit Lit, could have written. As the New York Times Book Review once put it, he's "a writer absolutely confident of his own voice. He knows how to tell a story."


Average rating
3.5 / 5
Great Storytelling
August 14th, 2015
When I began reading Fay I wasn't certain where the author would take his characters. When Fay stumbled onto stage, trusting and brave in her own way I was quickly drawn in and sympathetic to her plights.
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1 review
May 27th, 2015
The story line was simple and predictable. Was a bit disappointed in the depth of character development. If you are looking for an easy read this may be of interest to you, but don't expect too much.
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1 review
1 person found this helpful
Gritty and exciting
April 16th, 2014
Larry writes compelling stories about those who live on the margins of modern society...highly recommended
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1 review
1 person found this helpful
Excellent book!
January 18th, 2013
I loved this book, couldn't put it down! The characters were so perfectly real and sympathetic, as were the situations that Fay kept finding herself in. I found myself wanting just to keep her safe, and trying to round each corner just ahead of her, to warn her back if needs be. I'm looking forward to following this up with another Larry Brown story.
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1 review

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