Brown, Jason 1969(?)-
BROWN, Jason 1969(?)-
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, W. W. Norton & Co., Inc., 500 5th Ave., 6th Fl., New York, NY 10110-0699.
CAREER: Stanford University, Stanford, CA, former Jones lecturer; University of Arizona, Tucson, member of English department.
Driving the Heart, and Other Stories, W. W. Norton (New York, NY), 1999.
Contributor of short stories to anthologies, including Best American Short Stories and Twenty-five and under Fiction; contributor to periodicals, including Indiana Review, Georgia Review, Mississippi Review, Story, Epoch, Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, TriQuarterly, and DoubleTake.
SIDELIGHTS: Short story writer Jason Brown drew wide critical praise for his debut collection, Driving the Heart, and Other Stories. Having himself grown up in northern New England, Brown sets most of his tales in or around the city of Portland, Maine, where his characters struggle against substance abuse, depression, insanity, war memories, and death while trying to make sense of their own lives and of each other. Despite leading lives of quiet desperation, the people in Brown's stories manage to retain their spirit. In "Thief," for example, a young man whose mother slips into insanity after not taking her medication breaks into a home to steal knickknacks representing the normal childhood he never had; in "Dog Lover" a heroin addict and his blind, Vietnam War veteran father are haunted by the suicide of the woman who was their mother and wife respectively as they debate what to do about their dying pet dog; and in the title story an emergency driver who takes organs to hospitals for transplant tries to explain his love for the job to a trainee even as their latest mission proves hopeless.
Critics of Driving the Heart, and Other Stories frequently praised Brown's spare writing style and insights he provides into his characters. A Publishers Weekly reviewer commented that "Brown excels at portraying the life struggles of those with ravaged psychic resources, unique people and their alienated offspring at life's dark edges." New York Times Book Review contributor Jenifer Berman noted that, although "the stories may at times bleed together in tone,… Brown is a pure and accomplished talent."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Guardian (Manchester, England), December 23, 2000, Giles Foden, review of Driving the Heart, and Other Stories, p. 11.
New York Times Book Review, May 2, 1999, Jenifer Berman, review of Driving the Heart, and Other Stories, p. 21.
Publishers Weekly, February 22, 1999, review of Driving the Heart, and Other Stories, p. 64.