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The English Major: A Novel

by Jim Harrison

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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5403433,828 (3.51)24
Cliff, a sixty-something man, divorced and robbed of his farm by a late-blooming real estate shark of an ex-wife, takes a road trip across America, armed with a childhood puzzle of the United States and a mission to rename all the states and state birds to overcome the banal names men have given them. Cliff's adventures take him through a whirlwind affair with a former student from his high school-teacher days twenty-some years before, to a "snake farm" in Arizona owned by an old classmate; and to the high-octane existence of his son, a big-time movie producer in San Francisco.… (more)
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» See also 24 mentions

English (32)  French (2)  All languages (34)
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
Cliff, a 60-year-old former Michigan high school teacher, bids adieu to his inherited family farm (lost in a shady real estate deal); his wife, Vivian, of 38 years (who has been cheating on him and orchestrated the deal) and dear departed dog Lola (the truest woman in my life); and sets off on a yearlong, countrywide jag
  JoshSapan | May 29, 2019 |
Essentially a romance novel for old men. Loved it as that. Finished on flight home from trip to visit g'ma. ( )
  kcshankd | May 25, 2019 |
This is my second book by Jim Harrison in as many months, and I think I have to put him on my favorite authors list. He has a way of combining humor and philosophy in a very agreeable way. ( )
  Eye_Gee | May 8, 2017 |
I love Jim Harrison's writing.... he's a modern day Twain, or a northern version of Roy Blount Jr./Dan Jenkins. Not a page passes without a smile on my face, a chuckle, or an outright laugh (which is tough to do with the written word!).

The English Major is a coming-of-age story, the unusual thing about it though is that the age is 60. A former high school teacher turned farmer in the UP sells the farm and takes a break from his life by taking a driving trip out west. Comedy, sex, drinking, physical exertion, recriminations, family, philosophy, and lots of other stuff ensue. It's an enjoyable read and a fine way to pass a few hours, but in reality I'd read Harrison's grocery lists, he's that good. ( )
1 vote gmmartz | Jun 21, 2016 |
Harrison has crafted a fine road novel with The English Major, imbued like most of his other work with food and an eccentric protagonist, confronting (or running away from) his mortality and his broken marriage by embarking on a mission to rename all fifty states and all bird species. Along the way, he gets involved in torrid love affairs, eats, fishes, and reflects. In doing all these things, the results are either hilarious or moving. Harrison's prose and story are always careful, meticulous, and absorbing. You can see on the page, as you sink into one and turn to the next, the careful execution of a novelist who writes by hand and never edits. It's a shame that now his pen has stopped moving, but he has left behind one of the msot impressive bodies of work in American letters. ( )
2 vote poetontheone | Apr 20, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jim Harrisonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Chatham, RussellCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
"I write for the wish that comes true,
a terrifying concept."
--James Cain
Dedication
To
Steve & Max
Sons-in-law,
and friends.
First words
It used to be Cliff and Vivian and now it isn't.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Cliff, a sixty-something man, divorced and robbed of his farm by a late-blooming real estate shark of an ex-wife, takes a road trip across America, armed with a childhood puzzle of the United States and a mission to rename all the states and state birds to overcome the banal names men have given them. Cliff's adventures take him through a whirlwind affair with a former student from his high school-teacher days twenty-some years before, to a "snake farm" in Arizona owned by an old classmate; and to the high-octane existence of his son, a big-time movie producer in San Francisco.

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