After a perilously icy return trip from our month long sojourn to Florida and Tennessee, I’m ready to take up blogging again. In addition to birding, hiking, beach combing, eating out, photography, visiting relatives, friends and meeting alligators from the safety of an airboat, I managed to get several books read.
True North by author Jim Harrison seemed initially like a sure fire thing when I picked it up. It had an interesting woodsy locale (Michigan’s U.P.), trout fishing & other assorted outdoor activities, history, and a Holden Caulfield like main character David Burkett. Burkett is 4th generation scion of a very wealthy family. He tells the story of a life filled with mountains of guilt over his timber-baron ancestors’ exploitation and desecration of the north woods, its natives, and its working folk. I think the first person narrative is something called “stream of consciousness.” It’s easy to get lost in the stream. I did at times…..
Our protagonist embarks on a project to write a grand expose of and apology for his family’s misdeeds. It’s obvious the project will never be completed. Burkett is so mentally and emotionally unstable, wanders so aimlessly through life and loves, that anything he accomplishes will be purely by accident. His love life is pathetic at best. He does have somewhat of a sense of idealism but seems incapable of acting upon it. Being a lifelong member of the “clean plate club” I finished the book. Not sure why. The author wrote several “best sellers” made into movies, Legends of the Fall being one of them. Though bringing Brad Pitt to the forefront as a leading actor that movies postcard Montana setting was as seriously marred as the book by a wandering and confused plot....
often with a good narrative I hear a authors voice when I readReplyDelete
Agree, 'True North' is not Harrison's finest for sure. There are two of his books I'd recommend, 'Dalva' and 'The Raw and the Cooked'.ReplyDelete
The first is remarkable to me because it's very well written, but also he writes in a woman's voice, quite a accomplishment for someone with his background.
'The Raw and the Cooked' is a series of essays, all about food in one fashion or another. Harrison is known as something of a gourmand, and often includes food and cooking into his writing.
Certain authors get into a path and find it hard to get out of it. The path is not always beneficial.ReplyDelete
So you are home safely!ReplyDelete
All these years I thought it was just me falling asleep during Legends that I missed part of the winding plot:)
Have not read either of these books. It seems like I may have seen Legends of the Fall, or part of it, can't remember. It must not have impressed me. LOLReplyDelete
I thank you for your honest appraisal of Jim Harrison's book.ReplyDelete
Although I know that he is an acclaimed author I have never been able to finish one of his books (I guess I am not a clean plate specialist). But I am proud that he has made it big in the books he has published -- after all he is from my place of origin! Look forward to your future blogs. -- barbara
I used to be a "clean-your-plate" reader, but am now quite brutal about deleting books from my Kindle if they don't grab me after a page or sometimes after the first expletive.ReplyDelete
I'm a sucker for finishing some awfully poor books. I probably would have finished this one.ReplyDelete
Glad you made it home safe and sound... This is not the time of year to be traveling. The bad weather is not over --as you know!!!!!! (Maybe next year, you should stay 2 months down there... ha)ReplyDelete
Sounds like a wonderfully action & leisure packed month away.ReplyDelete
My January reads included The Book Thief - which I thought was EXCELLENT. Powerfully written historical fiction. I strongly recommend it if you haven't read it yet.
And Uncle Tom's Cabin, which I'd somehow missed or skipped when it was required reading in our history class at school. (Our older boys told me they can be made to read it anymore.. I'm guessing because of the extensive religion.)
And a couple of others that weren't as notable.
I can't finish a book if I don't like what I'm reading. I'd only be moaning and groaning about it for the rest of the book.ReplyDelete
Glad to see your post! Welcome back to the North Country and snow!!!ReplyDelete
I hope also to be blogging a bit more... having had a respite, myself!
Alas, Brad Pittism doesn't guarantee a good story, a good script, or good acting. Thanks for the head's up!ReplyDelete
If you a good yarn set in Montana and all about fishing, try Keith McCafferty (you might recognize his name from Fly Fisherman Magazine). First in his "Sean Stranahan" mystery series is The Royal Wulff Murders. Let me know how you like it!