A Bright Soothing Noise by Peter Brown, George Guidall, Jefferson Mays, Robin Miles,

By Peter Brown, George Guidall, Jefferson Mays, Robin Miles, Scott Sowers, Suzanne Toren, Recorded Books

The identify, A shiny Soothing Noise, refers back to the sound that fireside makes, promising not just light and heat but additionally violence and destruction. Brown’s maximum hero is Frank O’Connor, and prefer O’Connor’s his tales discover the ultimate bleakness of a countrywide lifestyles yet within the related second glow with its promise of affection and existence and belonging. Brown’s american citizens will test nearly something to attach. they have a tendency to drink an excessive amount of, to force too quick, are a bit too violent of their passions or even a bit too non secular. Too frequently they suspect, they trust—and however they don’t, based now not loads on what’s getting proffered as who’s proffering. they're continually at the verge of anything higher. they simply need a little extra, just a little an excessive amount of, and whereas we as readers wish with all our hearts for them to get it, we additionally worry they may. “This hugely wonderful choice of tales has the scenic depth and caliber of Tennessee Williams's one-act performs. Meet a various forged of characters in unusual settings, and revel in their provocative and witty company.”—Josip Novakovich, writer of April Fool’s Day: a unique and choose quantity 9: Katherine Anne Porter Prize in brief Fiction

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Once, he passed me the carrots and pointed to my brother, Sam. He said that for a man to be happy, he had to work with his hands. Dad was a Protestant, like everyone else on our street. Mom claimed she was related to Spinoza. Mostly the Jews stayed several blocks east, although, by 1969 in Queens, that hardly mattered. Who trusted anybody? After the nightly news, our dinners only became sufferable when Mom learned to shut her mouth. Sam, who was almost old enough for the draft, sided with Dad. One wrong word from any of us as we passed the lamb or the ribs and the silence came down like a metaphysical meat cleaver.

They followed her like she was the saint who had come to lead them satisfied and exhausted into Paradise. With flashlights Sam and I relinked the fence and poured more concrete and put up another sheet of plywood. He drove nails to hold the sheet in place until the concrete set. In the dark, after we had gone in, Mom stayed out in her rubber boots and rubber gloves with the flashlight, burying the potatoes and carrots again, restringing the beans, saving what she could of her damaged garden. 34 A BRIGHT SOOTHING NOISE • • • In the fall, when I returned from Brandeis for Thanksgiving, I learned that Sam’s number had come up fifty-sixth in the lottery— though he hadn’t heard from the draft board yet, he would soon, for certain.

I always had a battered anthology of poems under my arm or in my jacket. I was only a freshman and besides, I already had a girlfriend, a French girl named Isabel DuValle who lived a block from the park. Isabel was a sophomore at St. Theresa’s too, with a devastating accent and eager green eyes. She invited me to go with her and her mom to French movies in the city. She got me into parties of college kids her sister knew and necked with me in the corner. Isabel never asked about Sam, but I knew by the way he cast his eyes down when I mentioned her that he was jealous.

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