My wife thought he was a major pervert for a long time…wouldn’t read him.
It was something about nearly every book having a character who was having an affair with a younger woman.
I mean…much younger…really young…like a teenager.
It was usually an older dude…a worn out character with a long and hard history…having a relationship with a young innocent.
That wasn’t an appealing subject to my wife.
Then she read “Dalva”…one of Jim Harrison’s books.
She commented that she wondered how he could write from a woman’s perspective like that.
She thinks he’s a pretty darn good (my words, not hers) writer now.
One of my favorite lines of his is from the end of a book called “Farmer”.
The main character has…surprise…had and pretty much finished an affair with a younger woman and has returned to his older “lady friend” who he had a relationship with before he veered off into his adventure with youth.
You get the feeling that this mature relationship is one he might stick with…maybe. It’s all kind of indistinct.
Anyway…the last line in the book was, “She slows the horse by the grape arbor and he takes the halter and she smiles at him, the miniature violets on her cotton dress “
I love that. No period at the end of the sentence…nothing really wrapped up…just sensory, just life washing over him. I guess that’s what I love about Jim Harrison…he’s a pretty earthy guy…an outdoorsman and a gourmand…a hedonist. He gives me the impression that he wakes up “eating life”…and doesn’t stop until he drops into sleep at the end of the day. He’s a poet, too…so in addition to the animal side that he describes so well…there’s the internal part of us all being described like a poet would describe it…with grace and sensitivity.
There is value in these books. Sure, there’s the nasty side occasionally …maybe like there’s something a little dark in the best of us…but I think that he balances it with enough beauty and nobility that on the whole it’s not hard to realize that something good may come of it all.
Jim Harrison wrote Legends of the Fall. When I try to tell people who he is, that’s the book I use in my explanation. Some of his other books have been made into films but that’s the best known of all of them.