I found Jim Harrison when he wrote a food column for Esquire magazine called The Raw and the Cooked. I thought he was a genius. When I figured out he wrote novels, I gobbled them up like his characters go through brook trout and whiskey. I had a small clique of similarly obsessed friends and have happy memories of discussing the characters and ideas over long, Harrison-inspired dinner parties when we were all in our late 20s.
The Road Home is in my permanent Top 10 Favorite Novels list. It is one of the very few book I've read multiple times (three). Harrison will always be high on my list of favorite authors, at the top on any given day.
A few of his later books (True North and Returning to Earth) didn't "rattle my brainpan" (to use a Harrison expression) like the earlier books did. They were repetitive and a little tired. Still, I enjoyed them the way I enjoy music from a favorite band even if some of the songs sound the same. Variations on a theme sound sweet, especially when they are familiar. And his more recent "faux mysteries," The Great Leader and The Big Seven, were much more lively.
Here is the list of Harrison's prose books, from most recent to oldest. I have read them all and am now making my way through a very big book of his collected poetry.
A Really Big Lunch: The Roving Gourmand on Food and Life
The Ancient Minstrel
The Big Seven
The River Swimmer
The Great Leader
The Farmer's Daughter (reviewed here)
The English Major (reviewed here)
Returning to Earth
The Summer He Didn't Die
Off to the Side: A Memoir
The Beast God Forgot to Invent
The Road Home
The Raw and the Cooked: Adventures of a Roving Gourmand
Just Before Dark
The Woman Lit By Fireflies
Legends of the Fall
A Good Day to Die