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Farmer's Daughter Paperback – Oct 22 2010

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: House of Anansi Press (Oct. 22 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 088784961X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0887849619
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13 x 2.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 358 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #545,687 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 19 reviews
26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
One of my top five best books of the year Dec 2 2009
By Richard L. Pangburn - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of Jim Harrison's most satisfying books in many years. If you intend to read it, you might want to avoid all reviews and comments and simply read it fresh. If you need more incentive to read it, then read on.

The title, THE FARMER'S DAUGHTER, resonating with the many cliched variations of the joke, is a fine choice for the interplay of masculine/feminine in these three novellas, entirely different, yet linked by more than Patsy Cline's rendition of the Roger Miller song of alienation, "The Last Word In Lonesome Is Me."

The opening sentence of the first novella nails down the sense of alienation: "She was born peculiar, or so she thought." Her favorite idol is Montgomery Clift in "The Misfits." The first variation on the-farmer's-daughter is a coming of age story.

In the second novella, Harrison's everyman/Native American Brown Dog is the middle man, existentially and humorously muddling his way across, playing his part in creation but agnostic to the meaning of it all. When he hears "Who are we that God is mindful of us?" he turns the question around and says, "Who is God that we are mindful of Him?"

Harrison's symbols resonate on theme. Gretchen tells Brown Dog that they should go for three times at creation, "three, not two." She finds the creation act "bearable" but wants to stop at three. Brown Dog has "the absurd feeling of a reverse Christmas in May" and recalls the holiday line, "The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow." He flops down on a trash bag "to make a snow angel."

The third roughly 100-page-novella in here is the more spiritual, a vampire story of altered consciousness, alienated but advancing toward love, at last remarking how wonderful it is to finally make love with someone you actually love.

The first novella opens with a line of alienation. The closing of the third novella ends with the protagonist recognizing the interconnectedness of living things, the ME of LonesoME diminishing in the evolution of the self toward empathy, a recurring point in Jim Harrison's Buddhism/naturalism worldview.

There is an epilogue to the third novella in which the protagonist encounters a dead bear and says "at least for a moment I felt as if we were cousins."

Jim Harrison's humor in here is a hoot. Somehow, I have to fit this onto my list of the top five best books of the year.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Had high hopes... Jan. 6 2010
By John D. Blase - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I've read all of Harrison and the man's a genius. The East coast literati have continually overlooked him and he doesn't give a damn. Love it. I didn't believe Dalva could be topped and then along came Returning to could be the perfect novel.

The English Major was o.k., but a little disappointing. I had high hopes that big Jim would be back in rhythm for The Farmer's Daughter, especially with the hint of another Brown Dog story. Please hear me, I've underlined plenty of words and phrases the likes that only Harrison can conceive, but I believe this one fell short. As another reviewer hinted, Legends set the bar for me on novellas and this one just came under the bar. As Jim as written, life is like that sometimes. I'll still buy the next Harrison, even if its full of empty pages we're supposed to draw bears and women and rattlesnakes on.

His poetry lately is excellent...maybe that's where he's finding grace in these later years, with his first love - poetry.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Deja vu...all over again Dec 30 2009
By Jim Tenuto - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Jim Harrison's works have always been among my favorites. Legends of the Fall is a novella that stands with Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. Dalva one of the finest novels I have ever read. His poetry is masterful, muscular, spiritual, naturalistic. He is an American treasure, one of our most revered authors. In his books people actually breathe fresh air. They hunt, ride horses, camp, fly-fish, hike, living an active life. These are the books for the drawing rooms or the halls of academia. Harrison's characters have lives.

The Farmer's Daughter is a disappointing effort. Perhaps Harrison has mined his rich vein too often. The same bowl of menudo and Patsy Cline's "The Last Word in Lonesome is Me" find their way into each of the three novellas. The novella that gives the collection its title covers well-trodden Harrison themes. As in many of his books and novellas a piece of property is inherited by the protagonist, giving a sense of freedom and isolation. The second novella features Brown Dog, Harrison's Native-American alter-ego, a libidinous ne'er-do-well attempting to rescue his profoundly damaged daughter from the clutches of the state bureaucracy. The third novella, the best in this weak collection, returns to another of Harrison's trusty themes, werewolves. (In his memoir Harrison confesses that one night he's convinced he himself turned into a wolf! He also mentions in the introduction to that memoir that memory is a funny thing and he couldn't vouch for even his own veracity.)

Don't let this be your first introduction to Jim Harrison. Nearly everything else he has written is better.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Confidence and Gravitas Jan. 13 2010
By Cary B. Barad - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Superior writing and dramatic narrative with strains of empathy and subtle humor rarely seen in modern fiction. This author writes with confidence and gravitas. A real contribution that should please a wide range of readers--from the mainstream to those looking for something a bit different. Highly recommended. I was so impressed that I plan to look into some of Harrison's earlier work.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I don't get the attraction. May 2 2011
By David R. Halperin - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I gave it a try. I guess it is proof that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I know lots of people rave about his writing but I found the stripped down style so very dull. Not dry so much as parched. I am glad that there is room for a variety of writing styles in this world, but we don't have to like them all.