The English Major

The English Major

Book - 2008
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Cliff, a sixty-something protagonist, divorced and robbed of his farm by a late-blooming real estate shark of an ex-wife, takes a road trip across America, armed with a childhood puzzle of the United States and a mission to rename all the states and state birds to overcome the banal names men have given them. Cliff's adventures take him through a whirlwind affair with a former student from his high school-teacher days twenty-some years before, to a "snake farm" in Arizona owned by an old classmate; and to the high-octane existence of his son, a big-time movie producer in San Francisco.
Publisher: New York : Grove Press ; [Berkeley, Calif.] : Distributed by Publishers Group West, c2008
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780802118639
Branch Call Number: FICTION HARRISON
Characteristics: 255 p.


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beebee40 Jul 09, 2014

If Mr. Harrison is not retired he should be.

This book is middling at best and not even close to previous work.

Feb 19, 2013

An aging retired teacher/farmer takes a road-trip,during which he reconnects with a past student, and as a side-note renames all the States whose lines he crosses. Extremely funny in parts. He's a raunchy old rancher and I laughed out loud several times.

Nov 09, 2012

This book has several laugh-out-loud passages, particularly the 70 or so pages describing Cliff's road trip with a woman (nymphomaniac) 20 yrs. or so his junior. There's an interesting article (inc. a picture) about Jim Harrison titled "Pleasures of the Hard-Worn Life" by Charles McGrath, published by The New York Times on Jan. 25, 2007. You can read it online. I enjoy hearing or reading interviews that have been made with my favorite authors.

Feb 07, 2012

Library Journal

First novelist Skibsrud takes a poignant look at family, focusing mainly on Napoleon Haskell, his adult daughter, and Henry, father to a young man Napoleon served with in Vietnam. These three live in Henry's house in Canada as a sort of makeshift family. When Napoleon's daughter first comes to live with him and Henry after a relationship ends badly, she finds out much more about the father she hardly knew while growing up. And she begins to understand who Henry is and why he has a connection to her own family. She also learns that her father's alcoholism is much more progressed than she'd originally thought. And she begins to figure out the identity of the mysterious Owen, Henry's son, and why Henry feels indebted to her father because of him. With flashbacks to Vietnam and heartfelt recollections of the daughter's own childhood, the narrative shows Napoleon slowly letting his daughter in on deep secrets of his life. VERDICT A quick and satisfying read; recommended for most public libraries and reading groups that have an interest in books about familial relationships.-Leann Restaino, Girard, OH (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly

Nov 15, 2010

Great read. Prophetic and funny. I like Jim Harrison's no nonsense style. Probably a book that males will enjoy more than females. Not his best but well worth the time I took to read it.

Sep 13, 2010

It sounded promising and started so well but what a disappoimtment.

May 30, 2010

Wonderful book. A great read for (male) boomers tackling middle age with careers, marriages and mortgages behind them (or not). Pulled this novel off the shelf, never having read Harrison before, but will definitely read again.


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