Audiences are invited to a virtual conversation on Tuesday, March 23 at 7 p.m., when novelist Richard Russo and first author Gregory Brown discuss Brown’s novel, The Lowering Days. The free event is co-hosted by Left Bank Books, Belfast, and The Bangor Daily News.
The Lowering days takes place in a fictional town on the Penobscot River in Midcoast Maine. The town’s paper mill, which provided paychecks while polluting the water, is closed. As Japanese investors are interested in the reopening of the factory, a teenage girl from the Penobscot national tribe sets the factory on fire. Some city dwellers see his provocative action as an act of environmental justice; many others call it criminal mischief. His act unleashes a series of long, latent grievances, ending in a cycle of violence that tears the community and two families apart.
The narrator of Brown’s novel is a doctor who, looking back to his teenage years in the 1990s, sees fire as the catalyst that brought social and environmental changes to his community while also changing the trajectory of his life. As he tells the story he conjures up a rich understory of water, air, forests, reflecting on how they are seen and used, and what they mean deep in the memory of a culture.
In a recent interview with the Bangor Daily News, Brown, who grew up in Belfast in the 1980s and 1990s, said her story was “a mix of all the different pockets of the Midcoast and along the Penobscot River that I have absorbed. The fiction that often interests me the most is that which lets the mythology and folklore of a place shine through behind recognizable and real details.
Brown holds an MA in Journalism from Columbia University and an MA in Fine Arts from the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her work has appeared in Tin House, The Alaska Quarterly Review, Epoch, and Narrative Magazine. He has received scholarships and scholarships from the MacDowell Colony and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. He lives in Cumberland County with his family.
To order copies of The days of lowering ($ 26.99), call Left Bank Books at 207-338-9009 or email: [email protected]op.com.
To register for the free event: Gregory Brown and Richard Russo in conversation