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E between two lovers one a tantalizing young student the other his childhood friend he m. I much enjoyed this short novel 160 pages by one of my favorite writers Jim Harrison The story is set in the farm country of northern Michigan circa 1955 56 and the main character the 43 yr old Joesph is going through something of a mid life crisis He feels like he is doing a bit of a dance with death and he wants to see the ocean any ocean before he dies His mother has recently passed Joesph is a farmer and he is also a teacher Joesph has never been much beyond his farm Detroit and Chicago is about it and it troubles him that he seems to be losing his interests in hunting and fishing He also begins an affair with a 17 yr old student which he knows is wrong It is really only about sex and both Joseph and the 17 yr old Catherine are using each other Joseph also has a longtime relationship with a woman his own age and she is someone he does not want to lose Harrison as always is great with his description of the setting I felt like I was in Michigan while reading this story He also creates real and believable characters I especially liked the old country doctor in this story There is some great writing during a scene at a local cemetery on Memorial Day Harrison has a way of getting at the basic truths of life We all have some of the same feelings about life the fact that life is fleeting and we all need to take stock in what is going on and Harrison speaks to me and hopefully to other readers about matters of the heart I have noticed that I have given almost every Harrison book I have read 4 stars This one too Very solid but not great This story might appeal to older readers and perhaps to men than women I don t really know I know I enjoyed it very much Harrison stirs the soul and makes one sit back and think a little bit Is that not the point of good books

summary Farmer by Jim Harrison

Farmer by Jim Harrison

Ust also decide whether or not to stay on the farm or seek employment in the outside wor. Farmer By Jim HarrisonDelta Trade PaperbacksNew York 1976Brilliance and beautiful are two words very commonly together used but never do they mean as much as when describing Jim Harrison s work in Farmer This novel his third concerns the life of Joseph as he learns to move on from his mother s death find love through a seventeen year old student or the woman he s loved for years and how to live life Farmer 1976 seemed to be Harrison s coming out party after his first two novels Wolf A False Memoir 1971 and A Good Day to Die 1973 Both novels served as representations of Harrison s skill but it wasn t until Farmer that he seemed to put it all together After Farmer Harrison went on to write many acclaimed novels and novellas such as Legends of the Fall 1979 Warlock 1981 Sundog 1984 Dalva 1988 and The Woman Lit by Fireflies 1990 Farmer however stands out to be one of his finer worksOne of the main themes of Farmer and indeed one of Harrison s main themes in general is the relationship between love and death One could also argue the importance of nature sex and moral dilemma which all have a bearing thematically to Farmer as well as all of his other works but it would seem that love and death and how they relate are the cornerstone In the novel Joseph goes through the death of his mother which Harrison describes via The thought of his mother s death brought Joseph wide awake It was the first year of his life that he had had trouble sleeping 36 Harrison sets up how Joseph faces uncertainty when it comes to death which goes hand in hand with how the character Joseph thinks about love which also causes him some trouble sleeping Joseph faces a conundrum when it comes to love as well because He thought with sadness that he had made love to this girl in an afternoon than he usually made love to Rosealee in a week 12 Harrison shows how much both love and death can affect someone deeply with similar emotional and physical symptomatic responses He seems to demonstrate how the relationship between love and death is one that can be uite symbiotic due to how deeply they affect a person and perhaps how they always seem to coexistHarrison does a wonderful job when it comes to describing the environment that Joseph is in as well as his internalized and externalized behavior For a while both while reading and after I had finished reading I wondered why Harrison did not write the novel in first person it being a very personal and single character driven piece I thought that it would perhaps be better served to show everything through the character s eyes since he was the central figure of the novel but then the I thought about it the I realized that third person was the way to go and I applaud Harrison for that decision While Joseph was the main character and everything centered on him the setting he was in was also a major driving force of the novel and third person was indeed the best way to capture their complex relationship

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Joseph is 43 a farmer teacher who suddenly finds himself at a crossroads Forced to choos. has been several years since I first read Farmer but I must admit I had no idea how good the novel was back then I suppose this current revelation has everything to do with my advancing age the fact that I have had similar experiences and that existential uestions present themselves the educated and well read one becomes There are so many sidebars in this novel subplots and personal histories between the main characters and the small town farming community that by default knows everyone s business Farmer is a great American novel that ranks with the very best in American literature Everyone got disgusted with winter by March and usually before and a major April storm could bring on a fit of sheer spite in anyone I too grew up in northern Michigan It has snowed on Mother s Day Delivering the Detroit Free Press every morning as a kid on a bike was an experience I will NEVER forget Not exactly sure about that activity building character The winterspring weather is certainly something that can bring you down A neighbor lady who spent the day with his Joseph s mother had left a tuna fish casserole on the table with cooking instructions Joseph dumped it in the garbage Hooray for Joseph Can t tell you the number of homemade dishes and desserts I too have personally thrown away uneaten that came from the loving hands of a kind hearted neighbor No way am I eating something brought over from an acuaintance Harrison speaks kernels of truth on a regular basis and is something I look forward to while reading I didn t think of that when we started last fall but that was what kept me going One night Rosealee and I got carried away for the first time since we were young I mean we were doing something we didn t actually know we were going to do before we did it The love of my life fell in love with another man and my resulting heartbreak led me toward a path of self destruction Twelve years later she did come back to me and we have had several decades to work out together our resentments and life s disappointments Our personal baggage resulted in much heartache and suffering Rosalie s and Joseph s love affair mirrors our own and I can relate to the angst and confusion Joseph still harbors I somewhat understand how he would fall for his precocious and attractive seventeen year old student She gave him the attention he had previously desired from Rosalie who instead first offered it to his best friend and then married him When he died in the war Rosalie became available and their relationship through the subseuent years has been complicated and somewhat stalled Their expected and promised marriage has thus been put on hold for a very long time Joseph remains a very confused and damaged man with conflicting feelings Harrison does a great job of examining these lives through fiction Turns out he can write an intense love story as well


10 thoughts on “Farmer by Jim Harrison

  1. says:

    First the Goodreads description of this book is actually the description of Harrison's The Farmer's Daughter which is a collection of three novellas and written 33 years after this one Fortunately I found this in the 1 must go shelves of a used bookstore and thumbing through it could see that it was a completely differe

  2. says:

    If you are old enough to have some regrets to have done some things and left other things undone that you should have done but have the good sense to not be morose about it this is for you Farmerteacher Joseph engages in behavior that hurts someone he loves But even though it is behavior that is routinely critic

  3. says:

    has been several years since I first read Farmer but I must admit I had no idea how good the novel was back then I suppose this current revelation has everything to do with my advancing age the fact that I have had similar

  4. says:

    Short bittersweet and simply superb I discovered Jim Harrison while in college thirty some years ago when I read of his fi

  5. says:

    It has been uite some time since I took in a book in one delicious bite language at once both devoured and savored FARMER was a reminder of how beautiful literature can be a novel that will haunt me for some time to come I do believe my top five books may have just shifted

  6. says:

    I much enjoyed this short novel 160 pages by one of my favorite writers Jim Harrison The story is set in the farm country

  7. says:

    Who wouldn't love a story with sex in a barn with an underage nymph?

  8. says:

    “Farmer”By Jim HarrisonDelta Trade PaperbacksNew York 1976Brilliance and beautiful are two words very commonly together used but never do they mean as much as when describing Jim Harrison’s work in Farmer This novel his third concerns the life of Joseph as he learns to move on from his mother’s death find love through a seventeen year old student or the woman he's loved for years and how to live life Farmer 1976 seemed

  9. says:

    This year has been a series of leisurely reads for me I'd have to say Farmer is the best read of 2017 for me The books I've read this year have simply been enjoyable Farmer is the first book that really made me stare at the ceiling for 5 minutes after finishing sit up slowly place my hands over my eyes and really feel this sense of profound calm confusion about life His lack of closure is of the same strategy as William Faulkner but some

  10. says:

    Just remembered reading this years ago At least I think it was this; a bunch of the book covers look the same Read because my wife is from Michigan and she had the book and maybe I read another one of his too?I think I really liked it and still have gut feelings about being outside and shit about duck blinds and complica

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Tessa Young is an 18 year old college student with a simple life, excellent grades, and a sweet boyfriend She always has things planned out ahead of time, until she meets a rude boy named Harry, with too many tattoos and piercings who shatters her plans.