I love Larry Brown's writing. So simple, yet so affecting and evocative. This collection of autobiographical tales was written as a reflection on the time in his life from the '70s to the early 90s as an Oxford Fire Department member in Mississippi. That alone would be good enough - his stories tell of the unique esprit de corps in the fire station and of the many harrowing emergencies they would attend. But this book is more than just this. Brown writes of what that life was like as a colleague among the truest of friends, as a professional - sure of his abilities and confident in his training and equipment, as a man coping with moments of life, death and devastation on a routine basis, and as a husband and father living a blue collar existence in a simple home doing simple things.
It is these latter recollections which penetrated the most - you feel the soul of the man as he tells of half-hearted hunting expeditions with his sons, planting trees with his buddies in a snowy January landscape, or the heartbreaking episode of the disappearing kittens and the stuggle to settle with himself the ethics of raising rabbits for profit.
Intermittently he makes reference to his private passion - writing - and his efforts to fit that parallel vocation in with his home and work lives. These tiny insights are fascinating, and truly give an indication of what kind of a man he was. Highly recommended.