The Farmer's Daughter Paperback – Nov 20 2010
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...Harrison is a master at subtly depicting the politics of everyday life...His characters are tautly drawn and leave much to the imagination. Nonetheless, they're people to root for, folks who'll stick in your head long past the denouement of each story. (L Magazine 2010-01-10)
By stalking society's hinterlands in his fiction, Harrison reminds us of the universality of human experience. As marginal as his characters appear, he awakes in readers a genuine compassion for them. In Harrison's generous, insightful and slightly offbeat world, even werewolves get a shot at redemption. (Seattle Times 2010-01-10)
Harrison has the uncanny ability to find beauty, poignancy and humor in his characters' miseries and misfortunes. (San Francisco Chronicle 2010-03-10)
He offers readers such a sense of place that it all seems like home. And characters so vivid and real that The Farmer's Daughter becomes like a chronicle of actual acquaintances, like reading a book describing dear friends. (Lincoln Journal Star 2010-02-10)
In our often overpacked lives, this isn't a bad lesson to take away from Harrison's fiction, always as exhilarating as a breath of fresh air. (NPR 2010-01-10)
Jim Harrison is a master of the novella form, and his talents shine brightly in two of these three stories. (James P. Lenfestey Star Tribune 2010-01-10)
That Harrison pulls off this trick without losing any of the emotional and aesthetic nuances of those experiences is what makes him so much more than a mere picaresque author. (Toronto Star 2010-02-10) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Jim Harrison is the author of more than twenty-five books of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. The winner of a National Endowment for the Arts grant and a Guggenheim Fellowship, he has had work published in twenty two languages. He divides his time between Michigan, Montana, and Arizona.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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.
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.
Everything about her was soooo over the top not believable. She was naive and innocent and yet overly sexual in a pornographic imaginary silly kind of way.
I found myself feeling embarrassed for the author while reading some of the passages. Sarah thinks in terms that I dont identify in young girls who are not sexually active...and I am a teacher to adolescents and a counselor. Great book for pedophiles who would like to believe in a childlike character who loves teasing older men and is preoccupied with thoughts of sex.