A Thousand Miles from Nowhere

A Thousand Miles from Nowhere

John Gregory Brown / Feb 18, 2020

A Thousand Miles from Nowhere A Virginia Book Award Finalist A beautiful haunting novel Tom Franklin John Gregory Brown is a writer I ve long admired and this new novel is his best book yet A Thousand Miles from Nowhere is a mar

  • Title: A Thousand Miles from Nowhere
  • Author: John Gregory Brown
  • ISBN: 9780316302807
  • Page: 358
  • Format: Hardcover
  • A Virginia Book Award Finalist A beautiful, haunting novel Tom Franklin John Gregory Brown is a writer I ve long admired, and this new novel is his best book yet A Thousand Miles from Nowhere is a marvelous depiction of one man s stumbling journey from despair toward a hard won redemption Ron Rash You have lost everything, yes Everything Henry thought he consideA Virginia Book Award Finalist A beautiful, haunting novel Tom Franklin John Gregory Brown is a writer I ve long admired, and this new novel is his best book yet A Thousand Miles from Nowhere is a marvelous depiction of one man s stumbling journey from despair toward a hard won redemption Ron Rash You have lost everything, yes Everything Henry thought he considered the word Had he lost everything Fleeing New Orleans as Hurricane Katrina approaches, Henry Garrett is haunted by the ruins of his marriage, a squandered inheritance, and the teaching job he inexplicably quit He pulls into a small Virginia town after three days on the road, hoping to silence the ceaseless clamor in his head But this quest for peace and quiet as the only guest at a roadside motel is destroyed when Henry finds himself at the center of a bizarre and violent tragedy As a result, Henry winds up stranded at the ramshackle motel just outside the small town of Mari, and it s there that he is pulled into the lives of those around him Latangi, the motel s recently widowed proprietor, who seems to have a plan for Henry Marge, a local secretary who marshals the collective energy of her women s church group and the family of an old man, a prisoner, who dies in a desperate effort to provide for his infirm wife.For his previous novels John Gregory Brown has been lauded for his compassionate vision of human destiny as well as his melodic, haunting, and rhythmic prose With A THOUSAND MILES FROM NOWHERE, he assumes his place in the tradition of such masterful storytellers as Flannery O Connor and Walker Percy, offering to readers a tragicomic tour de force about the power of art and compassion and one man s search for faith, love, and redemption.

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    About "John Gregory Brown"

      • John Gregory Brown

        Born and raised in New Orleans, John Gregory Brown is the author of the novels Decorations in a Ruined Cemetery The Wrecked, Blessed Body of Shelton Lafleur and Audubon s Watch His fourth novel, A Thousand Miles from Nowhere, will be published by Lee Boudreaux Books, an imprint of Little Brown Co in June 2016 His honors include a Lyndhurst Prize, the Lillian Smith Award, the John Steinbeck Award, a Howard Foundation fellowship, and the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Book of the Year Award After two decades as the Julia Jackson Nichols Professor of English at Sweet Briar College, he now teaches at Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts He and his wife, the novelist Carrie Brown, have three children.


    1. I won a copy of this book during a giveaway. I am under no obligation to leave a review or rating and do so voluntarily. So that others may also enjoy this book, I am paying it forward by donating it a local library.

    2. Henry Garrett is fleeing the onslaught of Hurricane Katrina on his home of New Orleans. But that is not all he is fleeing. He is caught in an internal storm swirling around a failing marriage, estrangement from his only sibling, discontent with his teaching job and a terrible concern he has inherited the crazy gene from both his parents. After three days of driving away from the storm, he finds himself checking into a bizzare motel in a small Virginia town. Latangi, the widowed Hindu owner of th [...]

    3. This novel is stunning. It's a thoughtful exploration on loss and recovery--about the choices we make and the events that force us to make choices. John Gregory Brown's book takes readers through ruined landscapes: New Orleans after Katrina, and the clattering mind of a man who's falling apart. Though readers may not share his clattering form of madness, we connect to Henry Garret because he's wounded, and makes mistakes, and we want to see him heal.A Thousand Miles from Nowhere takes us on phys [...]

    4. John Gregory Brown’s A Thousand Miles from Nowhere is a beautiful and weird novel about love, loss, family, and New Orleans. Henry Garrett leaves New Orleans a few days before Hurricane Katrina and finds himself in Virginia, but he’s already lost his job, his wife, and his home even before the hurricane hits. It has a bit of magic realism, gorgeous, heartbreaking details, and characters you can’t stop thinking about.

    5. I picked up this book and decided to read it when I saw that the story was set in Virginia. Henry Garrett flees New Orleans right as Hurricane Katrina approaches. He ends up in a town called Marimore, VA (which must be fictitious because I couldn't find it when I googled it). However, it is located near Lynchburg (a city where I worked for 10 years) and Lovingston. I adore reading books that have places I have been, especially in my beloved state. Henery arrives at a hotel where he is taken in b [...]

    6. “I think literature offers, as all art does, a measure of consolation and grace. It’s not enough ammunition, perhaps, to fight off all the sadness and misfortune and loss life throws our way, but it’s enough to hold it at bay for a while. That may seem like a small comfort, but I think it’s an enormous one.” John Gregory Brown shared these words with me when I interviewed him for James River Writers in 2014. Loss and grace are the themes of Brown’s latest book, A Thousand Miles From [...]

    7. There are some books that you devour in one sitting and some books that must be savored like a fine wine. This is one of the latter. This however was not the only reason this book took me weeks instead of my usual day or two. It was an uncomfortable read. Please do not misunderstand, I don't mean it was bad Perhaps explaining that my absolute biggest fear, the thing that keeps me up at night and is the stuff of nightmares, is losing my grip on reality and/or sanity. So Henry Garrett's personal j [...]

    8. An excellent novel about one man's mid-life crisis/break with reality, and the steps he takes to come back to himself and his life, Katrina being only one incident making up the whole, and not the cause of the original break. I like how New Orleans and the storm are treated here, not the main topic, but a background, a history and an ongoing narrative that are portrayed as part of the protagonist, not just part of his life, but part of him. You can feel a love for the city throughout this book. [...]

    9. "Had he ever believed until now that a life could be changed by a story?" When Katrina forces Henry Garrett to flee New Orleans, he drives three days before alighting in a small Virginia town. There, a kind motel owner gives him a temporary home, and others rally to supply this refugee with whatever they can muster. When further disaster strikes, Henry fights to manage his depression and find inspiration in new and renewed relationships, the chance to recapture lost love, and the opportunity to [...]

    10. This is the first book I have read by this author. I really liked it. I liked it enough to go back and start reading his earlier work. This is a thoughtful book, one of reflection, of consequence and coming to terms with the decisions people make. It is not full of action or bells and whistles and devices. This is a true literary piece and the author has a true gift for unfolding the simple parts of every day that people take for granted.

    11. Wonderful story of coming back from the brink of insanity. Post Katrina Henry Garrett finds himself in a small town in Virginia with nothing. But Henry lost everything not to Katrina but to his own failing sanity. With the help of some of the residents of the town he begins the long climb back to the world.I received this book as part of a giveaway but the opinions expressed are solely my own.

    12. A beautiful, personal exploration of post-Katrina life for Henry Garrett. The story is driven by vivid detail and a surprising weaving of the images, lyrics, and emotive tones of the music Henry loves.

    13. Beautiful prose. It took about 60 pages to commit to this book, but once Henry Garrett encounters circumstances that pull him out of his head, it becomes a captivating story. You can't exist without others.

    14. What a wonderful book! although I would expect nothing less from Mr. Brown. I've been reading him for years and he has never disappointed.

    15. So amazingly eloquent and lovely. Henry is such a beautiful character. The supporting characters remind me of a Billie Letts novel, the author reminds me of Ann Tyler

    16. "No matter how badly you want to see it, don't go looking for it," his father had told him. "Maybe you won't stumble upon it."Henry Garrett speeds away from his home as Hurricane Katrina tears into the Louisianian coast, destroying everything in her path. But destruction is familiar to Henry. He has lost his marriage, his inheritance, his job, his sanity. So when he pulls up to a rundown motel in Virginia, hoping for a brief reprieve of chaos, it's no surprise he finds himself in the middle of a [...]

    17. Loved it. I'm partial to books about second chances, and this one is that. Second chances in life, in love and even the storm ravaged city of New Orleans are all here. Loss, redemption, restoration, words that all come to mind when I read this book. AND it has at it's core an epic storm, an epic poem, and wonderful, alive characters.

    18. I was swept away by this man's journey from total loss and despair to redemption and forgiveness and all the colorful and quirky characters who help him along the way. Beautifully written.

    19. This author spoke at our annual "Staff Day". I had not been familiar with his books, but will certainly look for his others.

    20. I won an ARC of A Thousand Miles From Nowhere by John Gregory Brown from .Displaced from his home because of Hurricane Katrina, protagonist Henry Garrett of author John Gregory Brown's novel, A Thousand Miles From Nowhere, finds himself at the Ganesha Motel, an almost mythical place anchored in a small Virginia town. As Henry struggles with mental illness, the reader is taken inside his head, joining in the search for understanding and purpose.A Thousand Miles From Nowhere by John Gregory Brown [...]

    21. This contemporary novel is written from the point of view of Henry Garrett, a man who left New Orleans just ahead of Hurricane Katrina. Early in the book we also learn that Henry has also left his job and his wife, and does not seem to have a destination.I had a hard getting into this book, continuing and finally finishing the book.While I was initially drawn into the opening scenario, related to Hurricane Katrina, I found this book confusing. There is very little narrative. As a reader, what I [...]

    22. ARC received courtesy of First Reads GiveawayThis was a strangely compelling novel. The main character, Henry, knows that he is in mental trouble; he hears voices, can't sleep, spent his inheritance on an empty grocery store. As we meet him, he has left New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina hits. The reader learns about his childhood, his teaching career, his marriage, all through the thoughts running through his head. He simply cannot shut the voices down.As he arrives in Virginia, he stops at [...]

    23. This is the first book I've read by the author, and I read the entire second half of the book in one sitting, staying up late to do so. His portrait of the barely fictional community in Amherst and Nelson County, VA is spot on, from the haunting rabbit portraits in the Briar Patch Restaurant and the rolls at What a Blessing. His love for both New Orleans and Virginia is clear. You have to take a few leaps of faith in terms of plot, but this is a novel, and I didn't mind that at all. I especially [...]

    24. Struggling to get through this book. I once took a fiction writing class in which the instructor advised against having your characters "just sitting and thinking" -- 100 pages in and that's all our protagonist here seems to do - the one compelling scene in which something happens, quickly gets overwrought with more sitting and thinking. And the author desperately needs to read this essay: fictionwritersreview/essay With close, third person point of view, we get we're inside Henry's head, we don [...]

    25. 08.07.2016 NY Times "Southern Fiction" Shortlist recommendation; not at any Madison Co. Libraries; 10.01.2017: we all have a “lost” friend, like this main character, and God Love ‘Em, they just can’t get out of the way of themselves, again like this character. A bit of a downer book for me but because it was the beginning of an otherwise fabulous vacation (Taos/Gr. Canyon), I kept plugging along (+ I purchased this book because it wasn’t at the local libraries). As with our friends, th [...]

    26. Couldn't finish it. I liked the beginning -- the descriptions of mental illness and loss and Katrina, but then as he was finding redemption or whatever (I don't know because I stopped reading around page 100) I just couldn't care anymore. It just seemed unlikely the things that people did for him, etc just because he was down and out. People aren't like that and life isn't like that and I couldn't get into it.

    27. Hooked from the beginning! A very interesting book that with great characters and story that I really enjoyed. After reading all the other reviews I can only say that all the 4+ Star review are all spot on, and the 5 Star reviews nailed it. This one has made me a true fan and I look forward to reading all of John Gregory Brown other book(s). I won this great book on GoodReads and like I do with most my wins I will be paying it forward by giving my win either to a friend or library to enjoy

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