Reviews

Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

The prolific Harrison (Legends of the Fall) writes in an appealing tough-crusty fashion that has attracted almost a cult following. Fans (and others) will delight in the two novellas here, which effectively bookend human life. "The Land of Unlikeness" features a washed-up academic-he's divorced, estranged from his daughter, and quit of his beloved painting-who returns to Michigan to tend his ailing mother. While there, he reconnects with his artwork, his daughter, and an old flame in a tentative act of renewal as real and touching as a Hallmark movie is not. Of the Upper Peninsula farm boy featured in "The River Swimmer" (cheeky, putting his story second), the narrative says: "If there was a body of swimmable water nearby he would enter it. It was his nature." Thad's strokes take him past the dock where fetching Laurie sits (the beating he gets from her father propels the plot) and all the way down to Chicago. Through good and bad, a swimming scholarship, a terrible accident, and troublesome water babies (a magical touch told laconically), water defines Thad's life. VERDICT There's not a misstep in these thoughtful, beautifully crafted stories. Highly recommended.--Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

The two novellas that constitute Harrison's fine new collection are, as usual, quite different in scope and content. "The Land of Unlikeness" features Clive, 60 and divorced for two decades ("the starkest rupture in his life"), taking advantage of a forced three-month leave from his professorship at an Ivy League college in New York to care for his octogenarian mother, now watching birds on the family farm in northern Michigan. His younger sister, Margaret, who is embarking on a month-long European vacation, informs Clive that his old high school flame Laurette is back in town. Clive reflects on his rift with his alienated daughter, Sabrina, while he rekindles his artist's ambitions despite his thwarted early career as a painter. As Clive relates his rustic origins through frequent, wistful reminisces, he has a "crotch painting experience" with Laurette, who remains the "overwhelming love of his life." Margaret's return home from Europe coincides with Sabrina's visit for a friendly family reunion. The short title novella, a tall tale set in northern Michigan, finds 17-year-old Thad Love, a swimming prodigy, after getting injured in a fight with his girlfriend's father, improbably swimming over 100 miles to Chicago, where he meets a new girl who takes him to France, where Thad is more seriously injured swimming the Loire river. Harrison's (Legends of the Fall) novellas are each striking in their own ways, rich and satisfying. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

The prolific Harrison (Legends of the Fall) writes in an appealing tough-crusty fashion that has attracted almost a cult following. Fans (and others) will delight in the two novellas here, which effectively bookend human life. "The Land of Unlikeness" features a washed-up academic-he's divorced, estranged from his daughter, and quit of his beloved painting-who returns to Michigan to tend his ailing mother. While there, he reconnects with his artwork, his daughter, and an old flame in a tentative act of renewal as real and touching as a Hallmark movie is not. Of the Upper Peninsula farm boy featured in "The River Swimmer" (cheeky, putting his story second), the narrative says: "If there was a body of swimmable water nearby he would enter it. It was his nature." Thad's strokes take him past the dock where fetching Laurie sits (the beating he gets from her father propels the plot) and all the way down to Chicago. Through good and bad, a swimming scholarship, a terrible accident, and troublesome water babies (a magical touch told laconically), water defines Thad's life. VERDICT There's not a misstep in these thoughtful, beautifully crafted stories. Highly recommended.--Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.