FARMER by Jim Harrison


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Poet/novelist Harrison writes in such a quiet, clean-gaited prose that although one can't quite believe in his people, one becomes drawn into their dilemmas--here the miasmic year of forty-three-year-old farmer and schoolteacher Joseph. Joseph, the ""little brother"" of sisters moved away from their Michigan farm, balks at doing what he knows he is going to do. He will marry Rosalee, widow of his best friend, whom he had loved for thirty years, and he will farm her land. In one year the small school where he taught is closed, he gives tacit consent to the mercy killing of his dying mother, and then there is Caroline, the seventeen-year-old nymphet whose lovemaking ""turns him into a lunatic."" Maybe Joseph just wanted for once to be ""carried away,"" but day by day he lets the eddies of emotion and circumstance lift him until he's beached where he knew he would be--married to Rosalee. Joseph's confidant, the gruff, blasphemous doctor, is as much a piece of the rural landscape as a silo, and the two women are drab under the skin. However Harrison has found a fresh aspect of middle-age malaise--that sweet-sour lapse into a kind of weightless drift. As lightly moving and insidious as a falling leaf.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1976
ISBN: 0385282281
Publisher: Viking