Synopses & Reviews
The Sunday Times
of London has called Jim Harrison "a writer with immortality in him" and The Washington Times
has written that "Jim Harrison ought to be considered a national treasure." In The Beast God Forgot to Invent
, this American master gives us three novellas that sparkle with the generous humanity and seasoned wisdom of his vision.
These are stories of humans and beasts, of culture and wildness, of men driven crazy by longing and of men who dream they are becoming bears. In "The Beast God Forgot to Invent," a man near the end of his life becomes part of an odd band of caretakers for a younger man whose brain has been damaged in a motorcycle accident, the civilization shaken out of him. Watching over this unmanned man, the hero becomes mindful of his own mortality and excess of civility. In "Westward Ho," Brown Dog, a Michigan Indian, wanders the wilds of Los Angeles, tracking the ersatz Native activist with whom he fled the police in Michigan and whos now disappeared with his bearskin. Ogling girls, sleeping in the botanic garden, and working as a driver to a drunk screenwriter, he eventually comes face-to-face with his ex-friend and with the difference between the world hes been visiting and the world to which hes going home. And in "I Forgot to Go to Spain," an aging "alpha canine," author of three dozen Bioprobes hundred page disposable biographies takes dinner with a woman to whom he was married for nine days in his overheated youth. Reminding him of his youthful dream of living in Spain as a poet, she forces him to examine who hes become, whether he owns his life or it him.
Infused with Jim Harrisons sly humor and quiet wisdom, these are stories with the expansive grace of the American landscape, urban and rural. This book is a resonant journey through the geography of masculinity from a writer in his prime.
"Three novellas, inhabited by the tough guys Harrison's readers have learned to love and dread; but now they are older and more ruminative, aware of their mortality and half supposing that the right woman might save them....What wins you over...is the big, wet, sloppy kiss Harrison continues to plant on the face of life itself." The New York Times Book Review
"Rich and exuberant...extraordinary...Reading Jim Harrison is about as close as one can come in contemporary fiction to experiencing the abundant pleasures of living." The Boston Globe
"Jim Harrison is a writer of expansive appetite...ranging hungrily through genres like a vagrant at a wedding feast....Now he's back with a collection of three novellas, and Harrison has proven himself a master of this quirky literary form, combining a poetic playfulness with language with his audacious storyteller's wit." The Seattle Times
"Imbued with all the gravely melancholy of a Tom Waits ballad...prickly, coarse, and utterly lovable...Harrison has been prowling the literary edges for four decades now, stubbornly eluding the snares of critical reduction including such dim taggings as 'macho' and 'regional' while producing a body of work so lushly idiosyncratic as to thwart even the gentlest efforts at classification....With the publication of The Beast God Forgot to Invent, [Harrisons earlier works] gain dazzling new company." Salon
"Harrison's fourth volume of novellas takes hold of you through the sweetly intoxicating influence and power of his narrative voices." Booklist (starred review)
"Harrison's intricate symbolism and scathing observations of urban foibles, his sly humor and vibrant language remind readers that he is one of our most talented chroniclers of the masculine psyche, intellectual or not." Publishers Weekly
"The magic of writing as good as Harrison's is that it can bridge the gulf of human separation. This collection is saturated with delightful, energetic voices; rich with the captured turns of lively human thought, careening from trenchant humor, ranchy longings, ironic japes and philosophical questing. The total effect is an invigorating and provoking embrace of human contradictions." The Oregonian
A new collection of novellas about wild men and civilization is offered by one of the major American writers of our time. These are stories of humans and beasts, of men driven crazy by longing, and of men who dream they are becoming bears. Infused with Harrison's sly humor and quiet wisdom, this book is a resonant journey through the landscape of masculinity from a writer in his prime.
Table of Contents
The beast God forgot to invent -- Westward ho -- I forgot to go to Spain.