Friday, April 10, 2009

Book Review: The English Major by Jim Harrison

This was an ok book. The writing is well done, told in first person (which I love) and the adventure is entertaining. I didn't have any trouble getting through it or anything. But, having said all that, I would say it's a passable read. I've read several books in this genre - an older man, looking back on his life and going through some kind of reflection about what he sees there. If you like that sort of thing, there are better ones -- I would recommend "Be Near Me' by Andrew O'Hagan, "The Sea" by John Banville or "Gilead" by Marilynne Robinson above this one.

This character's wife has left him and taken everything and he's off on a road trip across the country to regroup. It's a good premise. I find all the sex and sex talk to be unlikely of an elderly farmer type though. And he has this hare-brained idea to rename all the states and the state birds and so forth. It seems a strange preoccupation. I guess maybe my main complaint was that I didn't like him all that much. His wife left him because he was a bit boring and predictable -- and, well, I guess I thought so too.

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