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Topic: Jim Harrison

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Subject: Jim Harrison
Date Posted: 10/30/2014 11:44 PM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2009
Posts: 9,450
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Recently, largely due to a friend who is collecting Jim Harrison books because he grew up not far from what they call UP (the upper Peninsula), I have read four or five books by him.

And I don't quite know what to make of his work. Just when I think he is just a one-trick pony, I get this book of 3 novellas titled The Woman Lit By Fireflies, and I see several sides to him I never would have thought possible.

Any critical comments or just observations from fellow PBC'rs would be appreciated.

Date Posted: 10/31/2014 10:24 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
Posts: 6,537
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Well.........Jim Harrison happens to be on my list of favorite authors.  I too collect his first editions and have my favorites.   The first book I read of his was Farmer back in the '70's, which they may have retitled when republished.

 The next was Dalva.  It was exciting to me how well he wrote women characters.  And the story is great.  The sequel titled the Long Road Home is also the same.

My next favorite by him is the third novella titled The Man Who Gave Up His Name, in the book Legends of the Fall.  The title novella is actually one of the only ones I don't love.  I also liked Revenge in that book.

He does write some great male characters, especially the UP Indians.  

Did you know that he wrote the brilliant movie, Wolf, starring Jack Nicholson?  

I could go on, but I am typing on a pad and it is just too laborious.  But, just to add, his books of essays are some of the only non-fiction I read.  Great novelist.

 

 



Last Edited on: 10/31/14 10:29 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/31/2014 11:02 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2009
Posts: 551
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I strongly dislike this author. He is extremely sexist.

                                                  Rose

Date Posted: 11/1/2014 11:18 AM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2009
Posts: 9,450
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Pamela, So let me tell you what  he does that I think is very good, and what is (to me) not. Funny, that Obsessed called him sexist. There is one conspicuous "ball-buster" in most things I have read, but two or three who are closer to opposites. After the first 2 /2 books I felt that the protagonist was always the same character. (and close to the opposite of an "alpha male"). And I thought that  a serious deficiency if I am to grade him on a scale of serious writer, as I always do. He can be a great storyteller, but at this point I am slightly worried that, liker Vonnegut, he is always telling the same story.

Right now, I am reading The Woman Lit By Fireflies,  which my friend recently loaned me. "Brown Dog" is, to me, easily the best thing I have read by him. Are there books by him that good that you would recommend?

Date Posted: 11/1/2014 1:06 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
Posts: 6,537
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Well, he is a man of a certain age and time where storytelling from a Man's POV was acceptable if it was sexist.  I think that is true of some of his writing for sure.   I don't experience any ball busters in his books but I have no sensitivity to that type of character.  They are just strong personality characters.  They help create the conflict that moves the story along.   I do think that his stories are of a type.....People stumbling along, trying to make sense of their relationships with other people and nature.   I find that his books take me away.  I read them and feel satisfied that he told a great story, well written.   

Funny, as a '70's Feminist, I fail to see the problem with books with sexist characters, both male or female stereotypes.  They merely illustrate people in stories for me that are like the people we all know.  How well the character is drawn by the author is what I either like or not.  I don't like all of the characters in books but I don't notice that either if the story and situations the characters are playing out ring true and are described in a way that pleases my reading intellect.