Brown Dog Novellas

Jim Harrison, 1937-2016

Book - 2013

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Subjects
Genres
Short stories
Published
New York : Grove Press [2013]
Language
English
Physical Description
525 pages ; 24 cm
ISBN
9780802120113
0802120113
Main Author
Jim Harrison, 1937-2016 (author)
Review by Library Journal Reviews

Harrison's first Brown Dog novella appeared in 1990, and readers have been enchanted ever since. Now the author has collected all the Brown Dog pieces in one volume and added a new one to round out our perception of Harrison's extraordinary ordinary guy. Here we see Brown Dog pulling the preserved body of an Indian from Lake Superior's chill waters and recrossing the border in an Indian rock band's tour bus after having fled to Canada. In the new piece, "He Dog," our hero travels from Michigan to Montana and back, with love and redemption becoming a distinct possibility. Harrison excels in the long short form, as evidenced by his recently published The River Swimmer, a novella collection as pure, lovely, and arresting as they come. So this will be a treat for fans and newbies alike. [Page 54]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Since 1990, Harrison (Legends of the Fall) has been publishing novellas about the adventures of Brown Dog, a character of partly Native American descent living in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. This volume collects Harrison's five previously published Brown Dog stories and adds a new one. Brown Dog exists primarily off the grid of contemporary society and subsists on odd jobs (some legal, some not) and the occasional generosity of his (maybe) Uncle Delmore and the kind but troubled social worker Gretchen, who is the object of Brown Dog's unrequited passion. Motivated primarily by alcohol and sex (his genuine affection for women of all shapes and sizes makes him remarkably successful in this endeavor), Brown Dog can't seem to stay out of trouble. Harrison takes pains not to paint his leading man as a "noble savage," but the character's observations highlight the foibles and hypocrisy of modern life. VERDICT Readers new to Harrison's sagas will be happy for this full introduction. Those already familiar will find here a satisfying conclusion that leaves open the possibility for further adventures.—Christine DeZelar-Tiedman, Univ. of Minnesota Libs., Minneapolis [Page 105]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

This essential collection of six novellas (including the never-before-published "He Dog") offers an omnibus look at Brown Dog, a pure Harrison creation and a glorious character who will make readers howl with delight. From his first scuffling introduction in The Woman Lit by Fireflies, this boozy, backwoods, tree-cutting, snow-shoveling part–Native American from Michigan's Upper Peninsula wins over his audience with a bawdy, sometimes thoughtful tone. In these stories, he shambles from a day-to-day set of misadventures arising from some illegal salvage diving to a loopy picaresque jaunt through Los Angeles ("I just want my bearskin back," he says), to something much more profound and redemptive, standing in as a father figure to several vulnerable Indian and partially Indian children, despite the absence of much paternal influence in his own life. When a girlfriend tells him he's "involved in failure as a habit," Brown Dog says, "I never felt I did all that badly at life." He mentions a youth spent as a bare-knuckle fighter, but his greatest successes are usually horizontal, as he manages a string of unlikely, often alcohol-fueled sexual conquests, from Shelley the anthropologist, who schemes to get him to reveal the location of an ancient Indian burial mound, to a lonely Jewish dentist who wants to "go at it like canines unmindful of the noise they made." Often moving, frequently funny, these 500 pages offer the best way to get acquainted (or reacquainted) with one of literature's great characters. (Dec.) [Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"Of all [Jim Harrison's] creations, Brown Dog has earned cult status with readers in the more than two decades since his first appearance, scrambling to stay out of jail after his salvage-diving operation uncovers the frozen body of an Indian man in the waters of Lake Superior. Now, for the first time, this book gathers all the Brown Dog novellas, including one never before published, into one volume"--Jacket.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

An anthology of all of the Brown Dog novellas includes a previously unpublished story and follows the down-on-his-luck Michigan Native American's misadventures with an overindulgent lifestyle, his two adopted children, and an ersatz activist who steals his bearskin.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Brown Dog is a bawdy, reckless, down-on-his-luck Michigan Indian. Work is something to do when he needs money, taking time away from the pleasures of fishing. Of course, this means that Brown Dog is never far from catastrophe, searching for an answer to the riddle of family ... and perhaps, a chance at redemption.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

An anthology of all of the Brown Dog novellas includes a previously unpublished story and follows the down-on-his-luck Michigan Native American's misadventures with an overindulgent lifestyle, his two adopted children and an ersatz activist who steals his bearskin. 35,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 5

'Among the most indelible American novelists of the last hundred years. . . . [Harrison] remains at the height of his powers.''Dwight Garner, The New York Times on The River SwimmerNew York Times best-selling author Jim Harrison is one of America's most beloved writers, and of all his creations, Brown Dog, a bawdy, reckless, down-on-his-luck Michigan Indian, has earned cult status with readers in the more than two decades since his first appearance. For the first time, Brown Dog gathers all the Brown Dog novellas, including one never-published one, into one volume'the ideal introduction (or reintroduction) to Harrison's irresistible Everyman.In these novellas, BD rescues the preserved body of an Indian from Lake Superior's cold waters; overindulges in food, drink, and women while just scraping by in Michigan's Upper Peninsula; wanders Los Angeles in search of an ersatz Native activist who stole his bearskin; adopts two Native children; and flees the authorities, then returns across the Canadian border aboard an Indian rock band's tour bus. The collection culminates with He Dog, never before published, which finds BD marginally employed and still looking for love (or sometimes just a few beers and a roll in the hay), as he goes on a road trip from Michigan to Montana and back, arriving home to the prospect of family stability and, perhaps, a chance at redemption.Brown Dog underscores Harrison's place as one of America's most irrepressible writers, and one of the finest practitioners of the novella form.Praise for Jim Harrison's Brown Dog:'there is broad comedy in the writing, but also tenderness, and never a moment when the reader isn't rooting for Brown Dog to get it right. . . . We would all be the poorer if deprived of Jim Harrison's first-rate stories.''The New York Times Book Review on The Summer He Didn't Die"Brown Dog, an old friend to fans of Harrison, . . . boasts the rare ability to reject the frills and artificial complexities of modern life and keep to the basics. . . . Like reading a book describing dear friends.''Miami Herald on The Farmer's Daughter"A 21st-century version of Huck Finn.''The Charleston Gazette on The Farmer's Daughter

Review by Publisher Summary 6

“Among the most indelible American novelists of the last hundred years. . . . [Harrison] remains at the height of his powers.”—Dwight Garner, The New York Times on The River SwimmerNew York Times best-selling author Jim Harrison is one of America’s most beloved writers, and of all his creations, Brown Dog, a bawdy, reckless, down-on-his-luck Michigan Indian, has earned cult status with readers in the more than two decades since his first appearance. For the first time, Brown Dog gathers all the Brown Dog novellas, including one never-published one, into one volume—the ideal introduction (or reintroduction) to Harrison’s irresistible Everyman.In these novellas, BD rescues the preserved body of an Indian from Lake Superior’s cold waters; overindulges in food, drink, and women while just scraping by in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula; wanders Los Angeles in search of an ersatz Native activist who stole his bearskin; adopts two Native children; and flees the authorities, then returns across the Canadian border aboard an Indian rock band’s tour bus. The collection culminates with He Dog, never before published, which finds BD marginally employed and still looking for love (or sometimes just a few beers and a roll in the hay), as he goes on a road trip from Michigan to Montana and back, arriving home to the prospect of family stability and, perhaps, a chance at redemption.Brown Dog underscores Harrison’s place as one of America’s most irrepressible writers, and one of the finest practitioners of the novella form.Praise for Jim Harrison’s Brown Dog:“There is broad comedy in the writing, but also tenderness, and never a moment when the reader isn’t rooting for Brown Dog to get it right. . . . We would all be the poorer if deprived of Jim Harrison’s first-rate stories.”—The New York Times Book Review on The Summer He Didn’t Die“Brown Dog, an old friend to fans of Harrison, . . . boasts the rare ability to reject the frills and artificial complexities of modern life and keep to the basics. . . . Like reading a book describing dear friends.”—Miami Herald on The Farmer’s Daughter“A 21st-century version of Huck Finn.”—The Charleston Gazette on The Farmer’s Daughter

Review by Publisher Summary 7

?Among the most indelible American novelists of the last hundred years. . . . [Harrison] remains at the height of his powers.”?Dwight Garner, The New York Times on The River SwimmerNew York Times best-selling author Jim Harrison is one of America’s most beloved writers, and of all his creations, Brown Dog, a bawdy, reckless, down-on-his-luck Michigan Indian, has earned cult status with readers in the more than two decades since his first appearance. For the first time, Brown Dog gathers all the Brown Dog novellas, including one never-published one, into one volume?the ideal introduction (or reintroduction) to Harrison’s irresistible Everyman.In these novellas, BD rescues the preserved body of an Indian from Lake Superior’s cold waters; overindulges in food, drink, and women while just scraping by in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula; wanders Los Angeles in search of an ersatz Native activist who stole his bearskin; adopts two Native children; and flees the authorities, then returns across the Canadian border aboard an Indian rock band’s tour bus. The collection culminates with He Dog, never before published, which finds BD marginally employed and still looking for love (or sometimes just a few beers and a roll in the hay), as he goes on a road trip from Michigan to Montana and back, arriving home to the prospect of family stability and, perhaps, a chance at redemption.Brown Dog underscores Harrison’s place as one of America’s most irrepressible writers, and one of the finest practitioners of the novella form.Praise for Jim Harrison’s Brown Dog:?There is broad comedy in the writing, but also tenderness, and never a moment when the reader isn’t rooting for Brown Dog to get it right. . . . We would all be the poorer if deprived of Jim Harrison’s first-rate stories.”?The New York Times Book Review on The Summer He Didn’t Die?Brown Dog, an old friend to fans of Harrison, . . . boasts the rare ability to reject the frills and artificial complexities of modern life and keep to the basics. . . . Like reading a book describing dear friends.”?Miami Herald on The Farmer’s Daughter?A 21st-century version of Huck Finn.”?The Charleston Gazette on The Farmer’s Daughter