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Minnesota Memoirs Paperback – April 19, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 252 pages
  • Publisher: Serving House Books (April 19, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0983828954
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983828952
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,503,363 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

DUFF BRENNA is the author of nine books, including The Book of Mamie, which won the AWP Award for Best Novel; The Holy Book of the Beard, named “an underground classic” by The New York Times; Too Cool, a New York Times Noteworthy Book; The Altar of the Body, given the Editors Prize Favorite Book of the Year Award, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, and also received a San Diego Writers Association Award for Best Novel 2002. He is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts award, Milwaukee Magazine’s Best Short Story of the Year Award, and a Pushcart Prize Honorable Mention. His work has been translated into six languages. His memoir, Murdering the Mom, is forthcoming from Wordcraft of Oregon, June 2012.

More About the Author

DUFF BRENNA is the author of nine books, including The Book of Mamie, which won the AWP Award for Best Novel; The Holy Book of the Beard, named "an underground classic" by The New York Times; Too Cool, a New York Times Noteworthy Book; The Altar of the Body, given the Editors Prize Favorite Book of the Year Award, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, and also received a San Diego Writers Association Award for Best Novel 2002. He is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts award, Milwaukee Magazine's Best Short Story of the Year Award, and a Pushcart Prize Honorable Mention. His collection of short stories, Minnesota Memoirs, was awarded first prize at the 2013 Next Generation Indie Awards in New York City. His memoir, Murdering the Mom, was a Finalist for Best Non-Fiction at the same 2013 Independent Publishers Awards. He also received a second place award under the Grand Prize category. Brenna's work has been translated into six languages.

Customer Reviews

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Steve Davenport on April 23, 2012
Format: Paperback
Duff Brenna's one of those storytellers who gets it right in every sentence. A master craftsman's master craftsman. He's got miles to go before he's done building his cabinet of books, but I've already bronzed him in my 99th percentile. And what unforgettable characters. If he'd closed up shop after just his first three novels, we'd have close to a dozen Hall-of-Fame candidates on the ballot. Mamie Beaver, John Beaver, Christian Foggy, Shepard, Jasper John, Henry Hank, Godot, Didi Godunov, Fat Stanley, Triple E, and my personal favorite, Helga. The stories that make up Minnesota Memoirs are quintessential Duff. If you know his novels, you'll recognize scenes and characters. If not, you're in for a treat of another kind, the best kind, stories that will stay with you because they're shaped by the best of the best. Remember that when Vernon, twine in hand, sinks his arm to the elbow in Cristobell. Ain't nobody can birth a calf like Duff Brenna, American treasure.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Clare MacQueen on April 23, 2012
Format: Paperback
Thomas E. Kennedy, author of the Copenhagen Quartet, has this to say about Duff Brenna's writing:

"There is not a better writer of America than Duff Brenna. He understands things about the country that no one else could know without reading his books."
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michel Sauret on June 17, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"Minnesota Memoirs" starts out with a tale set in the mid 1800s, written in traditional fashion but tinted with a bit of folklore. The story recounts the event of a man living in the woods with his sons near a tribe of Indians. One day, the Indians come to him to have their knives sharpened, only to turn around and slaughter a village of eighty people. The main character, who is a strong believer in honoring his family name, knows that his lineage has been forever tainted. From this, a theme is born that reappears throughout the collection: Characters desiring to overcome their own fallibility or trying to achieve a more-worthy destiny.

"Thirty pieces of silver kept echoing in Fergus's head ... He said that Minnesota history would always associate him with the eighty deaths of innocent men, women and children."

Interestingly, two of the main characters' last names in this tale are Foggy and Story, which appear again as the last names of secondary characters is several other stories in the collection.

Initially, it's hard to make out exactly how this first story sets the tone for the rest, especially because the remaining stories are much more contemporary (even experimental) in style. "Tattooed," for example, is told almost entirely in dialogue: A man tries to convince his adolescent step-son into getting a tattoo because it will make him more manly and desirable to women. In "Ways of Looking at a Blackbird," a young man visits a house/inn managed by two old men and an elderly woman with the intention of killing and robbing, but gets swept away by one of the old men's poetic (and crazy) theories of looking at black birds.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Oronte Churm on April 23, 2012
Format: Paperback
It's out of vogue to suggest we learn things in aid of our survival by reading literature. But with this new story collection you'll learn many things, starting with 19 more ways of looking at a blackbird, how to hotwire a car (and start an affair); and what "all good Americans who love God and their country" are up to in their passionate, sodden nights and regretful days that follow.

These pages swarm with humanity: Unofficial and unpaid caregivers--the ones who sing to cows, take in unwanted children, and bear witness and give comfort when no one else can be bothered--braggarts, cheats, thieves, failures, mad word-drunk egotists, dope-smoking seniors, and the habitués of a rollicking gay bar. Many of the stories are linked by recurring characters; more importantly, they continually remind us of our essential interconnectedness. Here you'll find wisdom ("Stay warm. Bless your reveries," in one of many deft comic touches), cunning, love, frailty, murderousness, and compassion so surprising it takes even the compassionate by surprise.

Duff Brenna's prose rolls along at a profound pace, unhurried and seeming to touch everything, like a river through a dark landscape. "What I'd like to know is what's the point?" a character says wonderingly of life. This collection, as with the best art, bears its own answer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JANINE SHERRY on January 23, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
DUFF IS AN EXCEPTIONAL WRITER...HE WRITES WITH FEELING FROM HIS HEART AND THIS IS NOT ALWAYS THE CASE WITH OTHER AUTHORS. HOPEFULLY, HE WILL HAVE MANY MORE GREAT BOOKS AS HE HAS HAD IN THE PAST....JANINE
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