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At work (where I "typeset" large print books, which is actually making Adobe PDFs of these that my employer can print), I got the pleasant surprise of composing the newest book by one of my favorite authors, Jim Harrison. He's a poet and a prose-writer, a food critic and raconteur, and once upon a time he wrote screenplays such as the one for Wolf (1994) (which is different story from his early novel of the same name). He's originally from northern Michigan, and his memoir Off to the Side (2003) included many images of The North that resonated with me. He now divides his time between Montana and southern Arizona.

This new book is a collection of three novellas titled The Ancient Minstrel. I'm unaware of other authors who frequently release collections of novellas, yet Harrison has several to his credit, which I think is noteworthy. Through my unfulfilled affection for National Novel Writing Month, it's noted that what fifty thousand words buys you is more like a novella, and those are reputed to be difficult to sell. Well, if you write three of them at a time, they make a good-sized book, especially if you write three well-crafted deep ones with some measure of humor and real life in them, like Jim Harrison's.

So here's a book I will have to buy and read, assuming I can read anything but pixels on a computer screen anytime soon. I will admit that not every book I handle during my "day job" is one I appreciate, and that's all that I'll say about that. Getting a chance to work on a really good one brightens my workday considerably.

N.B. The foregoing is not endorsed by my employer, nor do I speak on its behalf. (Though I don't believe I'm saying anything deleterious, nor am I releasing secrets as the book has surely been promoted already.)



( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 4th, 2016 08:50 am (UTC)
I will have to look him up.
Mar. 4th, 2016 05:51 pm (UTC)
He wrote the novella that inspired the 1994 film Legends of the Fall. The book of his that got me hooked was Dalva: A Life (1988); I need to reread that, but the characters were full and different from anything I'd read before. I like his poetry a lot. He has one large collection (The Shape of the Journey, 1998) and 17 other collections. My favorite one so far was After Ikkyū which sticks to a particular Japanese poetic form, though in English.

The characters in much of his fiction are ordinary men entrapped in their excesses (though the lead character of Dalva is a woman and a well-described one at that). There's often a tragic air to them but they get where they need to be in the end.

Edited at 2016-03-14 03:54 pm (UTC)
Mar. 15th, 2016 01:39 pm (UTC)
I will look him up.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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