Saturday, December 27, 2008

The English Major

Forward. The 60-year-old protagonist of Jim Harrison’s latest novel, The Engligh Major, decides that a road trip might be the best way to move forward after his wife of 38 years divorces him, and he loses the family farm in a scheme that she managed. I laughed often at Cliff’s adventures and peculiarities. The title refers to Cliff who was both an English major and a high school teacher before he landed on the family farm he inherited. As Cliff drives west, he decides to rename every state bird, and he tosses a puzzle piece from the car every time he crosses a state line. His adventures become amplified when Marybelle, a former student, and 17 years his junior, joins his trip and both releases and increases sexual tension. She and Cliff become especially energized when they arrive in San Francisco and Cliff’s affluent gay son, Robert, provides them with a well-needed respite. Throughout the road trip, waitresses play a big part in Cliff’s adventures, especially one who recognizes his identity as an English major. The English Major is quirky, funny and entertaining.

Rating: Three-star (Recommended)

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