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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
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    Lois Leveen 9781476757445

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1 Beaverton Literature- A to Z

The English Major

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The English Major Cover

ISBN13: 9780802118639
ISBN10: 0802118631
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

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Staff Pick

You don't have to be young to start over, hip to seize life, or daring to have adventure. You don't need to be moneyed (or utterly destitute) to meet the right people. A simple life is fuel enough for insight and meaning, and change is often good. Jim Harrison's writing is marvelous, and in his new novel — On the Road for the common man — he takes the reader on a trip with a teacher-turned-farmer who hits the highways after personal catastrophe.
Recommended by Jason W., Powell's Books at Cedar Hills Crossing

Synopses & Reviews

Review:

"In Harrison's funny, spirited latest, Cliff, a 60-year-old former Michigan high school teacher, bids adieu to his inherited family farm (lost in a shady real estate deal); his wife, Vivian, of 38 years (who has been cheating on him and orchestrated the deal) and dear departed dog Lola (the 'truest woman in my life'); and sets off on a yearlong, countrywide jag. Armed with his childhood jigsaw puzzle mapping the 50 states, Cliff endearingly tosses out a puzzle piece every time he crosses state lines, reminisces and tries (with as much humor as he can muster) to make the best of his shattered existence. The miles between Minnesota and Montana play host to a melodramatically drawn-out love/hate 'romantic triumph' with Marybelle, a married former student. She stalks Cliff well into a visit with his affluent gay son, Robert, flourishing in San Francisco. As more calamity ensues in Arizona, New Mexico and Montana, the possibility of reconciliation with Vivian looms. With a plot left deliberately thin, Harrison is consistently witty and engaging as he drives home his timeless theme: that change can be beneficial at any point in life." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

At the end of a class reunion that he didn't want to attend, poor Cliff notices that his wife has returned to the party with grass stains on her clothes. She soon deserts him to run off with an old high-school flame and, in the bargain, pockets most of the profits from the sale of the Michigan farm where Cliff has raised cattle and tended orchards for the past 25 years. Oh, and his dog just died.

... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Synopsis:

"It used to be Cliff and Vivian and now it isn't." With these words, Jim Harrison sends his sixty-something protagonist, divorced and robbed of his farm by a late-blooming real estate shark of an ex-wife, on 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.

The English Major is the map of a man's journey into—and out of—himself, and it is vintage Harrison—reflective, big-picture American, and replete with wicked wit.

Synopsis:

Harrison's sixty-something protagonist--divorced and robbed of his farm by a late-blooming real-estate shark of an ex-wife--embarks on a road trip across America, in this story that is the map of a man's journey into, and out of, himself.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 4 comments:

terryp, January 6, 2010 (view all comments by terryp)
certainly some of the best from mr. harrison.maybe not the best of the decade, but certainly one of the best stories of the decade. seriously. this is a great, great story and i highly recommend it to anyone over 50. i'm packing my car now.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
catfish, January 11, 2009 (view all comments by catfish)
Cliff, a randy 60-yr-old codger is one of the most appealing narrators you will meet this year. After his wife leaves him for an old classmate, he sets off on a cross-country road trip, guided only by a puzzle map of the U.S. and a desire to escape his past. Along the way, he muses about (and sometimes indulges in)women, sex, literature, farming, his dead-dog Lola,fly-fishing and life. A wonderfully funny, raunchy, philosophical book that makes you realize that you are never too old to give up living.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(2 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
Bookwomyn, November 23, 2008 (view all comments by Bookwomyn)
It's funny to me how I, an older woman, enjoyed so much the tale of this poor fellow. I guess, in part, it's because he shares some of his insecurities, foibles, longings and regrets. Okay, so it's not a perfect book (as the other reviewer pointed out) but I really enjoyed reading it and have recommended it to some other people who are certain to enjoy it as well. Society is not very kind to its elders - thinking them to be uninteresting ... boring ... and not worthy of consideration. This slim volumne celebrates the last chapter of life and leaves the reader feeling hopeful instead of depressed. I loved the book.
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(6 of 9 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 4 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780802118639
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Harrison, Jim
Publisher:
Grove Press
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
General
Subject:
Man-woman relationships
Subject:
Family
Subject:
Psychological fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20081001
Binding:
Hardback
Language:
English
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in 15 oz

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Sale Books

The English Major Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$4.95 In Stock
Product details 304 pages Grove Press - English 9780802118639 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

You don't have to be young to start over, hip to seize life, or daring to have adventure. You don't need to be moneyed (or utterly destitute) to meet the right people. A simple life is fuel enough for insight and meaning, and change is often good. Jim Harrison's writing is marvelous, and in his new novel — On the Road for the common man — he takes the reader on a trip with a teacher-turned-farmer who hits the highways after personal catastrophe.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In Harrison's funny, spirited latest, Cliff, a 60-year-old former Michigan high school teacher, bids adieu to his inherited family farm (lost in a shady real estate deal); his wife, Vivian, of 38 years (who has been cheating on him and orchestrated the deal) and dear departed dog Lola (the 'truest woman in my life'); and sets off on a yearlong, countrywide jag. Armed with his childhood jigsaw puzzle mapping the 50 states, Cliff endearingly tosses out a puzzle piece every time he crosses state lines, reminisces and tries (with as much humor as he can muster) to make the best of his shattered existence. The miles between Minnesota and Montana play host to a melodramatically drawn-out love/hate 'romantic triumph' with Marybelle, a married former student. She stalks Cliff well into a visit with his affluent gay son, Robert, flourishing in San Francisco. As more calamity ensues in Arizona, New Mexico and Montana, the possibility of reconciliation with Vivian looms. With a plot left deliberately thin, Harrison is consistently witty and engaging as he drives home his timeless theme: that change can be beneficial at any point in life." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by ,
"It used to be Cliff and Vivian and now it isn't." With these words, Jim Harrison sends his sixty-something protagonist, divorced and robbed of his farm by a late-blooming real estate shark of an ex-wife, on 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.

The English Major is the map of a man's journey into—and out of—himself, and it is vintage Harrison—reflective, big-picture American, and replete with wicked wit.

"Synopsis" by , Harrison's sixty-something protagonist--divorced and robbed of his farm by a late-blooming real-estate shark of an ex-wife--embarks on a road trip across America, in this story that is the map of a man's journey into, and out of, himself.
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