A Major Novel, 1991
This chapter focuses on Larry Brown’s major novel Joe, which he wrote after he “had already written five bad novels and thrown them all away.” Brown laid the manuscript aside in the late 1980s, while he was writing the stories that became Facing the Music and Dirty Work. In the spring of 1990, Brown showed the manuscript of Joe to Houghton Mifflin’s Seymour Lawrence, and Lawrence immediately offered him a fifty-thousand-dollar advance if he agreed to switch to Houghton Mifflin. Brown eventually decided to stay with Algonquin after a telephone conversation with Ravenel. Lawrence later told Ravenel that Brown had approached Houghton Mifflin because “he felt his books would get wider distribution and more effective promotion with another publisher.” From that time forward, however, both Ravenel and Brown remained wary of Lawrence.
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