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Disclosure: I live in Michigan, I've read most of Jim Harrison's fiction and essays, and I've heard him read several times. Basically, I keep coming back to his writing because I very much like it. Why? I think that his protagonists seem very honest. They are not supermen, but people created to be as complex as someone you'd meet on a northern Michigan street, men who are bright, articulate, and introspective, but who sometimes make very human mistakes. More specifically, his heroes are typically (but not always) middle-aged men who love food, art, travel, nature, and women. Harrison can, in one paragraph, beautifully discuss French cuisine and the Impressionists; in the next, he can have his protagonist guiltily and graphically lusting after a long-ago love. Simply, any writer who has his main character dissecting and reviling a bullying, two-faced, materialistic "giant of capitalism," and (in an earlier book) flushing his own cell phone down the toilet, resonates with me. Harrison--as befitting a writer who has endured poverty in his earlier years--is sensitive to inequalities of economic class, or the "haves" and the "have-nots,"--a dichotomy well-represented in northern Michigan.
More to the point, the first novella in this collection is absorbing, well-paced, and good. The second, "The River Swimmer," contains some of the best Harrison writing I've read: The story is detailed, well-paced, "builds" steadily, and is written in something, I think, like "magical realism." I think Harrison takes some chances in this narration, and it pays off with a story I'll not soon forget. Like it and want to read something else by Jim Harrison? I suggest A Woman lit by Fireflies (novella), The English Major (a recent novel), and Off to the Side (essays). Good luck and welcome to the club!