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Jason Brown

Regular price 55.00 NIS
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176-page paperback / 5.5" x 8.5" / ISBN 9781589881945
Publication Date: 10/15/2024 (available for pre-order)

Outermark is a haunting and bittersweet story about the power of the places that shape us from Jason Brown, winner of the Maine Book Award, “a pure and accomplished talent” (New York Times).

The tiny, fictional island of Outermark sits thirty miles off the coast in the waters between Maine and Nova Scotia. When Corson Wills, one of the last people to have lived on the island, is asked to recount its history, he begins by describing it as "a rock in the ocean where no one lives anymore.” Corson’s tale, and those of his ancestors who also lived there, ferry the reader between the 1980s, when lobster fishing is the only remaining industry, and the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, days of great sailing ships to the East Indies but also of conflicts between the earliest Native residents and newly arrived colonial settlers.

During Corson’s boyhood, life on the island becomes increasingly tenuous as the lobster stocks decline and debt and hard feelings abound. Some of the islanders have started to run drugs, and many others have abandoned their homes to move to the mainland. Tensions between neighbors reach a tipping point the night of a catastrophic house fire. Residents of Outermark suffer the loss of livelihood and community that many in small towns have experienced in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. As the stories in Outermark reveal, as impossible as life was on the island, life off of it never feels quite right for those who had no choice but to leave it behind.

“A masterful work, catapulting the reader through the intricate history of Outermark with a sense of immersion that is rare in contemporary fiction. Full of quiet grace, breathtaking moments of violence, splendor, and all manners of beauty, this novel is an indelible achievement—and not to be missed.”
—Nathan Harris, author of The Sweetness of Water

“A flock of dead sheep floating in a harbor, hooves banging against hulls, kicks off this moving, atmospheric novel about Outermark Island, off the coast of Maine. What follows is an inventive portrait of an island and its people, as removed from the rest of America as moon-dwellers, told in stories big and small—some less than a page long—like archipelagos. With language as poetic as Elizabeth Bishop’s ‘At the Fish Houses’ and a propulsive narrative as wild and windswept as the island’s inhabitants, Outermark is a lyrical page-turner of a world unknown. This novel is a triumph.”
—Marjorie Celona, author of Y: A Novel and How a Woman Becomes a Lake

Outermark is a marvel: an utterly transporting history of a fictional New England island, and simultaneously a vivid narrative of the individuals enmeshed in that history. Comprised of interlocking and overlapping stories and perspectives, ranging in time from the 1700s to the present, this mosaic of a novel is deeply engrossing. The characters are complex, finely detailed, and startlingly authentic. The language is both lyrical and brutal, and the drama is visceral. Outermark leaves us with an aching homesickness for the vanished islands of our origins.”
—Dan O’Brien, author of From Scarsdale: A Childhood


“An inchoate evil is hard at work in each of the eleven stunning, loosely linked stories from Brown, set in harsh, sparsely populated northern New England . . . Brown's deep sympathy for his flawed characters endows these polished shorts with brilliant appeal.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review) on Why the Devil Chose New England for His Work

“In Jason Brown’s fine story collection . . . the inhabitants of Vaughn, Maine, are stalked not by Stephen King horror but by intimate afflictions of blood, accident, and history. Yet their stories are too vivid to be entirely bleak. Maine’s woods and rivers, its changing light, are the beautifully rendered constants in a harsh, even malevolent, world.”
—Boston Globe on Why the Devil Chose New England for His Work

“Each of Brown's elegant stories echoes with the same quiet despair . . . Brown is a pure and accomplished talent.”
—New York Times Book Review on Driving the Heart

“Extraordinary debut collection . . . Brown excels at portraying the life struggles of those with ravaged psychic resources, unique people and their alienated offspring at life's dark edges, at times as creepy as they are enticing.”
—Publishers Weekly on Driving the Heart

Jason Brown is the author of three books of short stories: Driving the Heart and Other Stories (Norton/Random House), Why the Devil Chose New England For His Work (Open City/Grove Atlantic), and A Faithful But Melancholy Account of Several Barbarities Lately Committed (Missouri Review Books), winner of the Maine book award. His stories and essays have appeared in Best American Short Stories, The New Yorker, Best American Essays, The Atlantic, Harper’s, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, among others. Brown grew up in Maine, earned his BA from Bowdoin College, his MFA from Cornell University, and was a Stegner Fellow and Truman Capote Fellow at Stanford University. He has lived on several Maine islands and in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. After teaching for many years at the University of Arizona, he now teaches in the MFA program at the University of Oregon, and lives in Eugene, OR.


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