“The English Major” by Jim Harrison

| April 20, 2010

There is a danger that comes from sitting down at the keyboard too soon after reading a book, and giving an opinion on something like Jim Harrision’s latest offering “The English Major.” First, to review a writer, any writer, from this precarious cyber perch is in itself undeserving – written as it is without a drop of ink spilt.

That said, as the primary reviewer here at TFC, I don’t find much in the way of music and literature I don’t like, and certainly won’t take away from water time to read or listen to things I don’t think I will like in the first place. Filtering is always going on, but it starts with media I at least think I will like and goes from there.

“The English Major” is set around the adventure of the protagonist who begins with an end to a relationship, “It used to be Cliff and Vivian, and now it isn’t.” Thus begins the cross country adventure based on a puzzle, bird names, sex, a dog and relationships. And since Cliff was an english major, there are plenty of heavyweight names peppered throughout as Cliff lives in the moment, looks back on his life and makes no predictions about his future.

If you are looking for a fly fishing adventure or Gierach flavored document, stop reading now, because you will find only a few pages on Harrision’s well documented love of fly fishing. And if you are squeamish when it comes to post middle-age sexcapades, you may find the adventures of newly liberated Cliff – a 60-year-old former farmer, former english professor – a bit racy. I suggest you “free your mind, and the rest will follow” as you get hooked on the quest, whether the circle actually closes, Cliff’s order is restored, or a new personal order is found.

Personally, during times like these I can appreciate a classic literary arc that is true to a beginning, middle and end. There is plenty of ongoing tension, but not a life changing climax followed by resolution. I can’t give away the ending, but then it may not be over just yet.

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Category: Reviews, Writing

About the Author ()

I write. I photograph. I fish, and I live.

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