Tuesday, May 19, 2009
While in Boston for my step daughter's graduation from medical school, I am re-running a couple of earlier reviews. This one was first posted on November 17, 2008. For newcomers to Jim Harrison’s work, The English Major is a delightful introduction to the fiction of this sometimes overlooked American treasure. Fans will enjoy another boisterous romp along Harrison’s literary highway, although the particularly jaded among them may find the themes getting a bit tread worn. When Cliff and Vivian split after a long marriage, sixty-something Cliff heads off on a mind-clearing road trip inspired by a childhood map of the United States, while Vivian stays in Michigan launching her real estate career with the sale of his family farm. Along his journey, Cliff falls into an affair with a former student, reconnects with his big shot son in San Francisco, visits an old buddy at a snake farm, and undertakes his magnum opus of renaming all the states and birds. The pages are filled with Harrison’s usual wit; curmudgeony charm; and musings on food, liquor, round bottoms, favorite dogs, and just how square peg loners can adjust to living in round hole society.