Rosellen Brown's characters move me to tears.
- Annie Dillard
Rosellen Brown has published ten books – novels, short stories, poetry, essays – and has lived in almost as many places – New York, Boston, San Francisco, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Texas and, currently, Chicago. After many years on the faculty of the University of Houston and more than a dozen summers leading the Spoleto (Italy) Writers’ Workshop, she now teaches in the MFA in Writing Program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
She has one husband, two daughters, one grand-daughter, two cats, too many books (read and unread) on her sagging shelves, and lives in Mr. Obama’s Neighborhood, overlooking Lake Michigan.
Half a Heart, 2000.
A mother and daughter lose and find each other across a tangle of complications, racial, class-bound, and finally primal as they seek to regain a relationship that was stolen from them.
“Honest, brave, elegantly written…one of the best of this year.” Elizabeth Taylor, Chicago Tribune
“Like Jane Austin, she digs deeper and deeper into the territory she has staked out, always coming up with brilliant new jewels. In her books, Brown explores intimate family relationships while engaging social issues.” Laurie Muchnick, Newsday
A Rosellen Brown Reader: Selected Poetry and Prose, 1992.
A miscellany in a series by writers associated with the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Previously uncollected stories, poems, essays and an interview.
“This enjoyable collection….underscores the breadth of Brown’s talents, shedding light on the Brown oeuvre and the literary daredevil behind it.” Newsday.
“I urge readers not to miss the Rosellen Brown Reader…(she) portrays with great immediacy the struggle to understand oneself and the surrounding world.” Tess Lewis, New Directions for Women.
Cora Fry’s Pillow Book, 1994.
Two books, the original Cora Fry and a sequel published 18 years later, in which a woman in small-town New Hampshire speaks, with New England wryness and understated eloquence, about everything from her garden to her lonely marriage, the aging of her parents, her love for the only town she has known.
“…refreshing and genuine as an undiluted draught of water from a healing spring…Cora’s potent, true-blue, energetic voice will do no less than revive you. I count it among the absolute necessaries.” Naomi Shihab Nye.
“Full of humor, truth, anger and tenderness…a novel stripped down to essences.” May Sarton.
Before and After, 1992.
A boy, his parents and their town deal with an awful crime that calls into question parents’ responsibility for their children’s actions, and tests everything that binds a family and a community.
“A painful and exhilarating novel.” Alice Munro.
“Powerful…This novel, for all its philosophical provocation and literary merit, is also an unabashed, read-until-dawn page-turner.” Michael Dorris, New York Times Book Review.
“At a time when fiction by women seems perversely misunderstood, one can only hope that Civil Wars will be recognized as a brave and fine work…richly rendered.” Lynne Sharon Schwartz, New York Times Book Review.
“Brown demonstrates remarkable insights into human relationships and scrutinizes ethical principles in crisis situations. Readers will (be) immersed in her gripping story, mesmerized by the questions she raises and by the brave, intelligent, compassionate manner in which she deals with them.” Publishers Weekly.
“A haunting novel…prose as masterful, and as moving, as any being written today.” Joyce Carol Oates, New York Times Book Review.
“A magnificent achievement…written with amazing authority, compelling beauty and immediacy.” Tillie Olsen.
“A bitter, funny, stringently unsentimental novel of rare merit.” New York Times Book Review.
“As fluent and gripping as a dream.” Boston Globe.
“An American classic.” John Freeman, Chicago Tribune.
“A brilliantly written book that celebrates neighborhood over the sinful selling off of our cities; that celebrates the harsh or soaring language of the people in town, not the machine-talk of the commentators in the suburbs.” Frederick Busch
Poems that refract two landscapes inner and outer, Mississippi in the inflamed ‘60s and the urban blight of Brooklyn, “a bill of damages, a totaling-up of the incalculable petty costs of living in perpetual opposition.”
“Rosellen Brown is successful because she refuses to allow commitedness to outweigh craft in the making of a poem. Her sensibility is as disciplined as it is radical. Other poets intent upon treating social issues might profit from reading her.”
Robert B. Shaw, Poetry