The ten linked stories in Jason Brown‘s A Faithful but Melancholy Account of Several Barbarities Lately Committed (Missouri Review, 2019) follow John Howland and his descendants as they struggle with their New England legacy as one of the country’s founding families and the decaying trappings of that esteemed past. Set on the Maine coast, where the Howland family has lived for almost 400 years, the grandfather, John Howland, lives in a fantasy that still places him at the center of the world. The next generation resides in the confused ruins of the 1960s rebellion, while many in the third generation feel they have no choice but to scatter in search of a new identity.
Jason Brown earned his MFA from Cornell University, and was a Stegner Fellow and Truman Capote Fellow at Stanford University, where he taught as a Jones Lecturer. He has received fellowships from the Yaddo and Macdowell colonies and from the Saltonsall Foundation. He taught for many years in the MFA program at the University of Arizona and now teaches in the MFA program at the University of Oregon. He has published two books of short stories, Driving the Heart and Other Stories (Norton/Random House) and Why the Devil Chose New England For His Work (Open City/Grove Atlantic). His stories have won several awards and appeared in Best American Short Stories, The Atlantic, Harper’s, TriQuarterly and other magazines and anthologies. Several of his stories have been performed as part of NPR’s Selected Shorts, and his collection Why The Devil Chose New England For His Work was chosen as a summer reading pick by National Public Radio. Stories from the new collection have appeared or will appear in Southern Review, Prairie Schooner (winning their editor’s prize and receiving special mention in the back of Best American Short Stories), Electric Literature, Bellevue Review, Dalhousie Review and the Editor’s Prize from the Missouri Review.