Hot Best Seller

The Beast God Forgot to Invent (Limited Edition)

Availability: Ready to download

The Sunday Times of London has called Jim Harrison "a writer with immortality in him" and The Boston Globe has written that "his stories move with random power and reach, in the manner of Melville and Faulkner." In The Beast God Forgot to Invent, this American master gives us three novellas that sparkle with the generous humanity of his vision. These are stories of humans The Sunday Times of London has called Jim Harrison "a writer with immortality in him" and The Boston Globe has written that "his stories move with random power and reach, in the manner of Melville and Faulkner." In The Beast God Forgot to Invent, this American master gives us three novellas that sparkle with the generous humanity of his vision. These are stories of humans and beasts, of culture and wildness, of men driven crazy by longing and of men who dream they are becoming bears. A man near the end of his life becomes part of an odd band of caretakers for a younger man whose brain has been damaged in a car accident, the civilization shaken out of him. A Michigan Indian wanders the wilds of Los Angeles, ogling girls, sleeping in the botanic garden, and working as driver to a drunk screenwriter as he tracks an ersatz Native activist who's run off with his bearskin. An aging "alpha canine," author of three dozen Bioprobes -- hundred-page disposable biographies -- takes dinner with a woman to whom he was married for nine days in his overheated youth and is reminded that he's forgotten to go to Spain. Infused with Jim Harrison's sly humor and quiet wisdom, this book is a resonant journey through the landscape of masculinity from a writer in his prime.


Compare

The Sunday Times of London has called Jim Harrison "a writer with immortality in him" and The Boston Globe has written that "his stories move with random power and reach, in the manner of Melville and Faulkner." In The Beast God Forgot to Invent, this American master gives us three novellas that sparkle with the generous humanity of his vision. These are stories of humans The Sunday Times of London has called Jim Harrison "a writer with immortality in him" and The Boston Globe has written that "his stories move with random power and reach, in the manner of Melville and Faulkner." In The Beast God Forgot to Invent, this American master gives us three novellas that sparkle with the generous humanity of his vision. These are stories of humans and beasts, of culture and wildness, of men driven crazy by longing and of men who dream they are becoming bears. A man near the end of his life becomes part of an odd band of caretakers for a younger man whose brain has been damaged in a car accident, the civilization shaken out of him. A Michigan Indian wanders the wilds of Los Angeles, ogling girls, sleeping in the botanic garden, and working as driver to a drunk screenwriter as he tracks an ersatz Native activist who's run off with his bearskin. An aging "alpha canine," author of three dozen Bioprobes -- hundred-page disposable biographies -- takes dinner with a woman to whom he was married for nine days in his overheated youth and is reminded that he's forgotten to go to Spain. Infused with Jim Harrison's sly humor and quiet wisdom, this book is a resonant journey through the landscape of masculinity from a writer in his prime.

30 review for The Beast God Forgot to Invent (Limited Edition)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tony

    Perhaps I’ve now read too much Jim Harrison. These are three novellas, a form he fancies. The stories – well, two of them – are annoyingly familiar: a post-middle aged man who admires female butts, drinks enormous amounts of liquor, eats enormous amounts of food and will tell you the recipe of every meal, has a job or former job that enabled or required him to read an enormous amount so that he can opine about books and authors, likes to walk and sleep outdoors so that he has acquired a great de Perhaps I’ve now read too much Jim Harrison. These are three novellas, a form he fancies. The stories – well, two of them – are annoyingly familiar: a post-middle aged man who admires female butts, drinks enormous amounts of liquor, eats enormous amounts of food and will tell you the recipe of every meal, has a job or former job that enabled or required him to read an enormous amount so that he can opine about books and authors, likes to walk and sleep outdoors so that he has acquired a great deal of information about nature and allows him to feel superior about that, is friends with a dog, and is friends with someone who is damaged in some way to define a purity of spirit. Now, I like Harrison, and have said so here. Maybe even sold some books. But the familiar form I’ve sketched above means his stories can be: a) familiar; and b) preachy. One of the old farts goes to a mid-western restaurant: These noble thoughts did not diminish my concern over a sign in the restaurant that simply said, “Fried Fish.” There had been a past, silly experience in Kansas when I never did find out what kind of fish was available. The waitress said, “You know, fish fish.” When I said that the ocean contained many types of fish she said, “This is Kansas,” closing off further discussion. The problem is that Harrison told the exact same story in an earlier work. He plagiarized himself. I don’t think you should be allowed to do that. There are times he can be wonderfully glib: At one time I revered D.H. Lawrence and might still if I re-read him, but then Henry Miller was more accurate. But then he could do this: I had just turned on NPR out of Marquette for music to soothe our abraded nerves, in this case Brahms whom I don’t care for. Even at this important juncture I must render my opinions! Well, actually, no, you don’t. If you tell me why you don’t like Brahms, I’ll listen. An opinion is a bumper sticker, and I don’t like traffic. He does a similar thing regarding his political opinions, which he must render (!). He mentions “the contemptible Reagan” and refers to an aunt as “a loathsome Republican.” Now, see, I’m a “a pox on both their houses” kind of guy, detesting all political parties equally. If Harrison and I considered political issues, one by one, in a conversation in a bar or in a book, we might be in substantial agreement. But he’s not talking issues or whys here. He’s simply engaging in indictment by adjective. When he says, “contemptible Reagan” and “loathsome Republican” he means to be redundant. Sorry, I like more than that. This collection includes another Brown Dog story. I like Brown Dog. I have read earlier Brown Dog stories and later Brown Dog stories. Liked them all. This one felt ‘mailed in’ though. Maybe this was just a bad stretch for Harrison, or maybe this was just one too many for me. I have reached a new, important phase in my life. Like any other mammal I am trying, moment by moment, to think of what I should do next. This wasn’t it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    Now that I've reached an age (48) where I can look back on the fact that I was early on infatuated with the written word, then had those blind yet powerful feelings develop further into several perhaps precocious stormy love affairs with this genre or that writer and have now settled into what seems to be a lifelong relationship with the written word that at once is and transcends the functional--equal parts mellow acceptance, jaded cynicism leavened by love and respect, like the best of all lif Now that I've reached an age (48) where I can look back on the fact that I was early on infatuated with the written word, then had those blind yet powerful feelings develop further into several perhaps precocious stormy love affairs with this genre or that writer and have now settled into what seems to be a lifelong relationship with the written word that at once is and transcends the functional--equal parts mellow acceptance, jaded cynicism leavened by love and respect, like the best of all lifelong relationships, I suppose--I do. Look back, that is. I do look back. And when I read a book such as Harrison's The Beast God Forgot to Invent or--to grab at a wildly different author who puts my reading of him in the same place--Saul Bellow's Mr. Sammler's Planet, I can not entirely shake the feeling that I'm being tricked, someone is pulling my leg and not in a way that will ultimately allow me to laugh with them but that will always enable them to laugh at me while hidden behind some secret literary scrim where they are the short, frumpy old man who pulls the levers and chains that stoke and flare the face of the great Oz of critically praised fiction. As I look back on some of those early stormy love affairs, I don't entirely disagree with bits and pieces of what is said of my former flames: Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. was pop and repetitive. Charles Bukowski was a limited, purposefully vulgar one trick pony. Richard Brautigan was stylistically a watered down short shot of Hemingway with a big pint of hippie surrealism on the side. Maybe. Or at least I can see how you'd pick out their poorer artistic decisions and use them as examples to bolster such claims. But when I read them then in the sweaty flush of discovering literature's power and potential and when I read them now with a better awareness of the aesthetic missteps here and there among my revisitation of the fabulous castles they've built in my mind: I STILL DON'T EVER FEEL TRICKED. I can't say the same about Harrison's The Beast God Forgot to Invent. But I can't entirely dismiss him either. I hung in there and had more than a moment or two of "hmmmmm, that's interesting" along with an occasional laugh out loud. It's a collection of three novellas with the title of the first one being the title of the collection. "The beast" in question is Joseph Lacort who had been an average, uninteresting, mid-thirties aged man of Michigan's upper peninsula until he smacked his head on a low hanging Beech tree bough while drunkenly zooming at a high speed on his Ducati motorcycle. The resulting traumatic brain injury transforms him into something in between human and beast in his behavior and relationships with, to borrow a beautiful phrase from Lux Interiors, the so-called civilized world. The title track, if you will, is the most engrossing of the three novellas. Westward Ho, the second novella, aims purely and bravely for humor by juxtaposing the outlook of a Michigan reservation Native American with the vacuous flash of L.A. I think the story gets bogged down because Harrison can bring far more verisimilitude to the Michigan part of the equation than the Hollywood part. Another version of the narrator from The Beast God Forgot to Invent inhabits the third novella, drowning in the mire of being a minor millionaire and successful literary hack who long ago turned his back on his dreams. Don't not read it, brothers and sisters. But don't expect to, perhaps, not feel a little tricked after you do. Next up on my list is Harrison's novel The Road Home. His preferred zone, I sense, is to to have us ride shotgun in the lives of (and go inside the mind's of) characters who are continually exploring what is noble and what is venal about modern civilization. What nobility have we lost in participating in, and therefore building, so called civilized society?

  3. 4 out of 5

    Karla

    You know a book is good when you continue to think about the characters days after turning the last page. This came highly recommended by a friend and it did not disappoint. Each one of the three stories stands fully on it's own, but has some similarity to the others. They are all very rooted to place - staying, returning, leaving. I'm going to need to give this one another read to fully appreciate the complexities of the stories. You know a book is good when you continue to think about the characters days after turning the last page. This came highly recommended by a friend and it did not disappoint. Each one of the three stories stands fully on it's own, but has some similarity to the others. They are all very rooted to place - staying, returning, leaving. I'm going to need to give this one another read to fully appreciate the complexities of the stories.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jim Puskas

    This book contains three stories and in all three, I found myself trying to figure out just what the stories are all about. They're not classifiable as having to do with war, crime, terrorism, adventure, exploration, romance, philosophy, mysticism, finance, politics, natural history, travel, economics, science ..... or any other recognizable aspect of life, real or imaginary. Eventually, I figured it out, Jim Harrison: It's all about YOU. There's almost no skill, accomplishment or insight at whi This book contains three stories and in all three, I found myself trying to figure out just what the stories are all about. They're not classifiable as having to do with war, crime, terrorism, adventure, exploration, romance, philosophy, mysticism, finance, politics, natural history, travel, economics, science ..... or any other recognizable aspect of life, real or imaginary. Eventually, I figured it out, Jim Harrison: It's all about YOU. There's almost no skill, accomplishment or insight at which you don't excel and most of those folks about you would stumble into disaster without you to point out their failings. We are not amused.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Anna Stene

    Ugh. I just did something I have only done perhaps 2 other times in my life, put down a piece of fiction without finishing it. I couldn't get beyond half way through the second novella. To use a word that Harrison oft repeats, these novellas are the definition of otiose. Ugh. I just did something I have only done perhaps 2 other times in my life, put down a piece of fiction without finishing it. I couldn't get beyond half way through the second novella. To use a word that Harrison oft repeats, these novellas are the definition of otiose.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Caley

    Harrison can be a genius when he's not being an old pervert. This collection fell into the latter of the two. Bummer. Harrison can be a genius when he's not being an old pervert. This collection fell into the latter of the two. Bummer.

  7. 4 out of 5

    M. Sarki

    https://rogueliterarysociety.com/f/th... ...Nothing so much torments a geezer as the thought of the unlived life... In the title story, the first novella, Jim Harrison, the writer, is again present in his characters. There is a bit of him in all, but generally he sticks most of himself into his lead subject. This time the man’s name is Norman Arnz, a sixty-seven ex-commercial real estate salesperson and rare-book dealer. He has been asked by the coroner to tell him everything he knows about his d https://rogueliterarysociety.com/f/th... ...Nothing so much torments a geezer as the thought of the unlived life... In the title story, the first novella, Jim Harrison, the writer, is again present in his characters. There is a bit of him in all, but generally he sticks most of himself into his lead subject. This time the man’s name is Norman Arnz, a sixty-seven ex-commercial real estate salesperson and rare-book dealer. He has been asked by the coroner to tell him everything he knows about his dead friend Joe who had changed drastically after he was involved in an auto accident with a tree, suffering a closed-head injury and thus making him non-functional in the world of making a living. Suffice to say that Norman Arnz intends to write everything he can fit into a novella-sized document. The novella’s subject is Joe, but we probably learn more about Norman who has opinions, pretty much hates Republicans or maybe any politician, is well-read, loves to eat and drink, enjoys naming fine cuisine and sometimes providing a recipe, and is extremely interested in the female anatomy and what he might do with it. Unlike Jim Harrison however, Norman cannot find his way around in the woods. Both now are old and both spend a lot of time thinking about the past and what might become of the future if lucky enough to get there. I never tire of a Jim Harrison character, even if he is similar sometimes to other characters we have met along Harrison fictional journey. Harrison continues to examine his life and what he thinks of it, and I never am exhausted hearing the same stories from time to time. On a personal note, after I got sober at the age of thirty-two I realized all my drinking stories were also pretty much the same, only the names and places changed. But I still loved telling those tales of made time as it reminded me I had survived my share of reckless living and did not wish to repeat them again in real time. ...Maybe all writers telling a story are in fact doing a coroner’s inquest?... The abundant literary nuggets found in any Harrison book are worth more than any suffering through another story of a young girl’s bottom, a splendid meal, or extreme indulgence of alcohol. Yes, most of his narrators have been divorced and made plenty of mistakes in every situation. But there is always something redeeming about all of them. Harrison is a teacher with integrity. He only fibs to make a better point, or to reach the unreachable among us. He is an artist of the first rank. ...We’re always standing on a trap door with wobbly hinges… The title novella turns out to be my favorite of all. I love Norman’s voice, his character, his shaky bearing on the world he inhabits. The fact that he is so well-read and willing to learn more at his advancing age is a good lesson for all of us. The fact that he is still interested in living, in good food, sex, travel and fine wine should come as no surprise to readers of Jim Harrison. He often drops a title or two of a book we might also be interested in reading, or provides a quotation or paraphrase from something he considers apropos to the topic at hand, and is not showing off his superior knowledge or at all pretentious. It is even more reason to be engaged in his work. Few of us are as gifted intellectually as Jim Harrison or have anywhere the level of recall that man has. Listen to almost any interview with Jim Harrison to witness his spontaneous mind at work and play. The middle novella featuring Brown Dog was included in the collected Brown Dog novellas that I have already read. This particular one for me is the least favorite of all of them. Brown Dog in Hollywood and Venice Beach just doesn’t seem to work as well, at least for me. The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is where Brown Dog thrives and where he best fits in. The Brown Dog character is one of the most beloved by most readers of Harrison, but not by me. I prefer characters like Norman Arnz and Robert Corvus Strang. And especially Jim Harrison when he shows up in his nonfiction. …My fetish for beautiful women, actresses and models, had exhausted itself by the time I hit fifty and had begun cringing when I touched a fake tit. I certainly didn’t blame women for having them, given our culture, but they made me uncomfortable. A feminist I met at Elaine’s once asked me how long the lines would be if men could buy a perfectly operable big dick? I am dark complexioned enough not to show my blushes... The third novella in this triumvirate, I Forgot to Go to Spain, carries on in the spirit of other typical Jim Harrison works of art. Women have always played a very important role in his writing and his life. The quotation above exemplifies for me the humility and honesty of Jim Harrison. As crude as he can sometimes be, he remains respectful as he celebrates every relationship he has had with a woman, fictional or not. ...The language with which I talk to myself had fled so far into the interior it had disappeared. Buckle up or buckle down. Gird up thy loins. The worst is to walk tall...But on a more malignant level there was the implicit cultural language of forbearance, bravery, grit, hard work, thrift, “sticktoittiveness”, of getting to work early and leaving late. This has allowed me to save a couple million which is not nearly enough according to an article in the Wall Street Journal...This made me long for the real money I earned as a paperboy pedaling my Schwinn on the icy streets of the city in February… Purportedly, Harrison has squandered thousands of dollars on big meals with his friends, so money is something he uses but has no real fixation as he also threw away much of it on drugs and fine wine, enough so that he had to get back to earning it the hard way. The simple life is really all the man really craved, but drugs and high rolling can change a person. I am not surprised that Harrison used this experience to relate on the page through his unnamed narrator how important it is to keep your priorities straight. ...Important businessmen were click, clacking around the lobby with possibly leaky asses. Two of them shook hands with the outsized vigor that made our nation what it is today… Harrison can also be funny while telling his truths and opinions under the guise of his narrators. Another reason I am so enamored with his writing. He says what a lot of us would love to say ourselves if only we just could. Obviously his narrator is going through a midlife crisis, somewhat similar to the crisis Norman Arnz was experiencing in the first offering, the title novella. Being that I am sixty-six years old at this writing I couldn’t be happier reading the thoughts of these fictional characters as they examine their lives and how to manage going forward with what time remains. I guess I did not appreciate the writer Jim Harrison as much when I was a younger man. He gets better with age.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kerfe

    I really liked the first two stories in this collection, particularly the second one. Both involve people who live slightly askew of what is considered normal. The third story, about a middle aged man finding himself, did not engage me at all--I couldn't even finish it. So two 5's and one 1 for stars. Brown Dog, the narrator of the second story, is, from an outside point of view, just another shiftless Native American, living on the edge of lawful behavior. But his rich inner life reveals an uncl I really liked the first two stories in this collection, particularly the second one. Both involve people who live slightly askew of what is considered normal. The third story, about a middle aged man finding himself, did not engage me at all--I couldn't even finish it. So two 5's and one 1 for stars. Brown Dog, the narrator of the second story, is, from an outside point of view, just another shiftless Native American, living on the edge of lawful behavior. But his rich inner life reveals an unclouded unironic sense of wonder at the world and its inhabitants, and a genuine self-knowledge few have of his real pleasures and needs. One could call it naive and yet it's not a simple worldview at all. He sees and knows well his own failings and the faults of humans both particular and general. But he accepts humanity without needing to either explain or understand it, and fits himself into each situation he finds himself taking part in without losing his sense of himself. In the title story, the narrator attempts to explain his relationship with a brain-damaged young man who has evidently committed suicide. The brain damage changed the man's interactions with the natural world in a way that questions both the narrator's and our own assumptions of "acceptable" behavior. How inevitable, really, is the world we have constructed? Harrison's writing is, as always, a treat in and of itself, with thoughts and observations that resonate beyond the particular story being told.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Josh

    Three Novellas, and I pretty much got this book to read the middle one, which is the third tale of Brown Dog. I'm not really sure why that is sandwiched between to stories of older intellectual types, unless maybe to make it stick out? It didn't fit. The title story was honestly a bit grueling. It was pretty obviously a Super Ego/Id kind of metaphor that I felt dragged on. It was actually the first thing I've ever not enjoyed of Harrison's. It is essentially the story of a retired book dealer who Three Novellas, and I pretty much got this book to read the middle one, which is the third tale of Brown Dog. I'm not really sure why that is sandwiched between to stories of older intellectual types, unless maybe to make it stick out? It didn't fit. The title story was honestly a bit grueling. It was pretty obviously a Super Ego/Id kind of metaphor that I felt dragged on. It was actually the first thing I've ever not enjoyed of Harrison's. It is essentially the story of a retired book dealer who is friends with a young man with a head injury who essentially lives like a wild animal. I get it. They're different, but sometimes the old man has moments of base instinct, just as the young man, mostly in his writings has almost transcendent thoughts. The super ego is envious and desires some of the simplicity of the id. But the id cannot survive in our modern world. For like 200 pages. Then, Brown Dog goes to Hollywood, and that's as good as it sounds. I always think that Brown Dog is Harrison's alter ego, and I wonder if this is metaphoric of his work as a screenwriter. The final story is about another intellectual. A former bleeding heart literary poet who ended up making a fortune writing "bioprobes" about famous people. In his 50s, he rediscovers the woman he had fallen in love with and married (for a week) in college. In traveling to see her, he is forced to reexamine what he is doing with his life. It's a little Richard Fordesque, but with better food description.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nathan R G

    The first two of the three short books hold water. The last story is where some exhaustion sets in - perhaps in part due to the protagonist's own indecisive wallowing. Often "unsympathetic" characters are unjustifiably singled out in lazy criticism, but here I am. The first novella's character is a wealthy recluse whose deflated energies are trying yet amusing enough in contrast to the secondary character, a "present-dwelling" and literally brainless man/beast. However, the passion-drained-impot The first two of the three short books hold water. The last story is where some exhaustion sets in - perhaps in part due to the protagonist's own indecisive wallowing. Often "unsympathetic" characters are unjustifiably singled out in lazy criticism, but here I am. The first novella's character is a wealthy recluse whose deflated energies are trying yet amusing enough in contrast to the secondary character, a "present-dwelling" and literally brainless man/beast. However, the passion-drained-impotent-60-something-detached-connoisseur/grump (see THE SUN ALSO RISES) is somewhat textually reincarnated in the final novella's main man, and by this time "he" is less welcome. Given the insouciant Native American lead in the second, and best, novella, this recurring whimpering chap seems overdone. That said, this is good stuff, especially the second story, which follows an Upper Peninsula Native out west to L.A., where he tumbles through encounters and tracks down the one meaningful object of his desires, an inherited bear-skin that a friend has stolen. Harrison seems like a more secure Hemingway, and it is always nice to see his dashes of the Upper Peninsula (that's Michigan, people) lightly conveyed across the pages.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Luke

    For the most part I am a big fan of Harrison, and though the first novella of this collection holds its own, but the remaining stories are weak at best and have a frustrating, suspect autobiographical bent that tends to bleed through the seams of quite a few Harrison tales. I can only read so many tales of the grossly nostalgic middle-aged man who yearns for a youth that in hindsight seems to be motivated largely by sexual triumphs. Even in the title story here, the best offering of the bunch, t For the most part I am a big fan of Harrison, and though the first novella of this collection holds its own, but the remaining stories are weak at best and have a frustrating, suspect autobiographical bent that tends to bleed through the seams of quite a few Harrison tales. I can only read so many tales of the grossly nostalgic middle-aged man who yearns for a youth that in hindsight seems to be motivated largely by sexual triumphs. Even in the title story here, the best offering of the bunch, the begrudged narrator often waxes wantonly, gratuitously mind you, over the females that cross his path, despite the fact that he is nearly twice their age. These moments are peppered throughout all three of the novellas and do nothing to enrich writing that is standing on thin ice to start with. Since when do we need to be reminded that possibly every 55+ year-old male we pass is steeped in sordid questionable thoughts throughout every passing moment of every day? And enough with the food and wine references already! Yeah, not my favorite work of his...obviously.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Hillbilly

    I did not like him at first. But like a bro from St. Joe he just sort of grows on you after a spell. Jim H is like creeper bud in the 80s when you felt nothing for 20 minutes then all of a sudden you have to pull your banana yella 1977 Bonneville over because gravity has failed once again and you're driving sideways or upside down. Reading Harrison you think at first, well this story sucks then about twenty minutes later you become overwhelmed with vivid memories due to his beautiful prose. You I did not like him at first. But like a bro from St. Joe he just sort of grows on you after a spell. Jim H is like creeper bud in the 80s when you felt nothing for 20 minutes then all of a sudden you have to pull your banana yella 1977 Bonneville over because gravity has failed once again and you're driving sideways or upside down. Reading Harrison you think at first, well this story sucks then about twenty minutes later you become overwhelmed with vivid memories due to his beautiful prose. You realize you missed the plot because your mind has twisted off on your first crush Wendy Conroy and the photo you have of her in Mexico circa 1982 standing with your second crush, Jenni Stevens on an ancient Aztec Pyramid. Then you realize you haven't thought of that day in over three decades as you turn back to where you started and try to concentrate on the story this time. So upon further reflection I'd say I like old Jim H. just fine and I'll definitely be reading his other books soon.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

    The first book by Harrison I read. The story The Beast God Forgot to Invent blew me away with its combination of incredible prose, insight to the haman psyche and storyline. A few times in your literary life you are lucky to find a piece of literature that coincides perfectly to your mood, disposition and expresses the raw colors of emotions trapped inside of you succinctly.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Arika Escalona

    I am a big fan of Jim Harrison, and this may be my favorite book of his. Although there a few might say that about....here he once again is toying with the strange mysteries of the human animal, damaged and brilliant and raw.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sharad

    First novella is outstanding, worth the price of admission.

  16. 4 out of 5

    David Harting

    Read this if you've ever called the Midwest home. Contrasts the vulgarity and beauty of wildness with that of civilization. Read this if you've ever called the Midwest home. Contrasts the vulgarity and beauty of wildness with that of civilization.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Peter Allum

    Left me unimpressed; didn’t finish. This collection includes three novellas (or long short stories). The first, The Beast God Forgot to Invent , takes the form of a lengthy report to a coroner on the days leading up to the death of Joe, a young man suffering lasting brain injury from a motorcycle accident. The report is prepared by a friend of Joe’s, a wealthy, aging rare book dealer. The second, Westward Ho, concerns Brown Dog, a Native American who fled Michigan for Los Angeles, and whose bear Left me unimpressed; didn’t finish. This collection includes three novellas (or long short stories). The first, The Beast God Forgot to Invent , takes the form of a lengthy report to a coroner on the days leading up to the death of Joe, a young man suffering lasting brain injury from a motorcycle accident. The report is prepared by a friend of Joe’s, a wealthy, aging rare book dealer. The second, Westward Ho, concerns Brown Dog, a Native American who fled Michigan for Los Angeles, and whose bear skin was stolen by a colleague, Lone Marten. I’ve no idea what the third story is about, as I gave up on this collection half way through the second novella. I don’t “get” Harrison. He has won impressive reviews: “…in the manner of Melville and Faulkner” (Boston Globe); “…a master” (New York Times book review); “on the short list of American literary masters” (Denver Post). But he left me cold. There is a refreshing anarchic, anti-government stance in his writing which is reminiscent of Denis Johnson. But this was a more attractive quality in writing 20 years ago than it is in today’s fragmented nation. Also, there is an unfiltered testosterone-driven aspect to the stories: women are routinely described in terms of their attractiveness and sexual availability. Honest, perhaps; but banal. Harrison, more generally, has an unusually elliptical writing style. He starts by describing a prosaic situation or emotion, and then loops into a more profound reflection on the same. Occasionally, this is interesting; eventually, however, these literary gymnastics seem artificial and attention-grabbing. In what seems laziness or carelessness, both the first and second stories include the same Nietzsche quote that “if you stare into the abyss too long it will stare back into thee” (p.29 and p.129). Once was more than enough.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Pep Bonet

    This is my second Harrison collection of novellas. I loved the first one a lot. He has a great capacity to generate good literature. He doesn't need 500 pages to tell a story, which is rich in details and has a purpose. His prose is excellent and extremely varied. His knowledge is extensive. He likes Spanish and French and shows off. But the stories were unequal. I didn't get into the first one, to the point that I read another book before starting with the second story. Thinking back, I can't sa This is my second Harrison collection of novellas. I loved the first one a lot. He has a great capacity to generate good literature. He doesn't need 500 pages to tell a story, which is rich in details and has a purpose. His prose is excellent and extremely varied. His knowledge is extensive. He likes Spanish and French and shows off. But the stories were unequal. I didn't get into the first one, to the point that I read another book before starting with the second story. Thinking back, I can't say why I didn't connect, except that I got lost in the variety of female characters and their role in the story. Something that almost happened to me with the third novella. I clearly enjoyed most the second one. But all in all I found that the result as a total is just middle of the road. Great writer, but the stories leave me a bit frigid. Maybe his depiction of the first-person character as a liberal, wine-loving, rich intellectual with disorder in his love life and unpleasant superiority made me react. Even without knowing whether it's a parody or a reflection of reality, I wasn't at ease with the guy.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Harry

    The book is comprised of three novellas: In "The Beast God Forgot to Invent" the narrator is an elderly man, Norman, whose friend, Joe, has suffered a brain injury in a motorcycle accident. As a result of the accident, Joe has few inhibitions and is more a creature of the forest than of civilization. Norman contrasts Joe's seemingly happy life, and especially his sexual prowess, against his own dull and featureless life. In "Westward Ho" Brown Dog, a Native American from Michigan, travels to Los A The book is comprised of three novellas: In "The Beast God Forgot to Invent" the narrator is an elderly man, Norman, whose friend, Joe, has suffered a brain injury in a motorcycle accident. As a result of the accident, Joe has few inhibitions and is more a creature of the forest than of civilization. Norman contrasts Joe's seemingly happy life, and especially his sexual prowess, against his own dull and featureless life. In "Westward Ho" Brown Dog, a Native American from Michigan, travels to Los Angeles in order to avoid legal issues at home. His misadventures in the big city kindle a deeper appreciation for the simple life of rural Michigan. In "I Forgot to Go to Spain" an aging writer confronts his station in life. In school, he had been an aspiring poet and author. He had plans of going to Spain, where he would live in the rural countryside and compose poetry. Instead, he suffered a disastrous 9-day marriage and settled into writing Bioprobes- pithy biological sketches of famous personalities. As a result, he has become relatively wealthy, but the harbor of regrets.

  20. 4 out of 5

    christopherdrew

    "The danger of civilization, of course, is that you will piss away your life on nonsense." That's the opening sentence; where do you go from there? Beautifully written, but also genuinely annoying at times; there are moments in each of these three stories where each narrator deserves to be punched in the face, or at least kicked in the ass, a feeling that's only mitigated by the fact that these characters are mirroring my own childish tendencies. Harrison isn't so much creating characters as he i "The danger of civilization, of course, is that you will piss away your life on nonsense." That's the opening sentence; where do you go from there? Beautifully written, but also genuinely annoying at times; there are moments in each of these three stories where each narrator deserves to be punched in the face, or at least kicked in the ass, a feeling that's only mitigated by the fact that these characters are mirroring my own childish tendencies. Harrison isn't so much creating characters as he is wearing really thin disguises, using these fictional lives to help draw out little nuggets of truths that tend to cold-cock the reader almost randomly: "We're not supposed to be trapped by our shelters but we are." "You could say that (ironies) make life more endurable but not better." I could go on; I actually took a high-lighter to my copy of this book. It actually IS really well-written, I don't know why I'm so annoyed. 7/10 would eat here again, as long as I didn't have to sit with the author.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Valenti

    This is the second Jim Harrison book I read the first being True North. I have to say, I prefer Harrison when he stays in the U.P. I enjoy his connection to nature, the local lore, and the insights of his characters are more profound and affecting. Write what you know! As for The Beast God Forgot to Invent, a trio of novellas, I thought The Beast God Fogot to Invent was way better than the other two novellas that comprise this book. The central character sustains a traumatic brain injury, and i This is the second Jim Harrison book I read the first being True North. I have to say, I prefer Harrison when he stays in the U.P. I enjoy his connection to nature, the local lore, and the insights of his characters are more profound and affecting. Write what you know! As for The Beast God Forgot to Invent, a trio of novellas, I thought The Beast God Fogot to Invent was way better than the other two novellas that comprise this book. The central character sustains a traumatic brain injury, and imagining how he sees the world is pretty interesting. Westward Ho features an Indian American who goes to Los Angeles and gets involved with a screenwriter. It feels cheap, easy, and familiar, although the dialogue between the two is downright comical at times. I Forgot to Go to Spain with its countless literary references, wine rating, and cliche characters was a bore.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Keith Bell

    Three novellas from an unsung master. While the last two are more contemporary, the title story should be a classic. It has been a long time since I have read anything so well written. His characterization and capture of raw emotion or sentiment is outstanding! I struggle to describe Harrison's style and emotion in relation to others and the best I can do is Larry McMurtry meets Ernest Hemingway. A more contemporary comparison would be Louise Penny for capturing (or en-capturing) me with a phras Three novellas from an unsung master. While the last two are more contemporary, the title story should be a classic. It has been a long time since I have read anything so well written. His characterization and capture of raw emotion or sentiment is outstanding! I struggle to describe Harrison's style and emotion in relation to others and the best I can do is Larry McMurtry meets Ernest Hemingway. A more contemporary comparison would be Louise Penny for capturing (or en-capturing) me with a phrase.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Hope Lumbis

    I sadly and honestly couldn't give it more than 63 pages in before I abandoned the reading. I never read any hing from this author but if this is his typical writing don't think I can ever read another. I sadly and honestly couldn't give it more than 63 pages in before I abandoned the reading. I never read any hing from this author but if this is his typical writing don't think I can ever read another.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    Love Harrison. Consistently delivers a well written, original plot.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Matt Wheeler

    Loved it!

  26. 4 out of 5

    PATRICE PRIVAT

    not as good as the earlier ones; or am I getting tired of his gimmicks ? A bit phoney and empty at times.

  27. 4 out of 5

    StephenNisbet

    Prose is solid like always. Title Novella (especially) and Westward Ho are intriguing. I Forgot to go to Spain lacks.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Eli

    I've read only the first novel because I was not convinced. I like the style but not the story. I've read only the first novel because I was not convinced. I like the style but not the story.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Adam Meyers

    "The danger of civilization, of course, is that you will piss away your life on nonsense." That's how the book opens and i now have that tattooed on my ass. "The danger of civilization, of course, is that you will piss away your life on nonsense." That's how the book opens and i now have that tattooed on my ass.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kent

    I think I picked an odd first taste of Harrison. It is a first person narrative of a not-professional writer but self-important rich guy and avid reader becoming more self-aware. It takes a while to get used to the idea that he is writing it that way as if he is trying another man's brain on for size. It works very well though, and by the end of the story I feel like this is one of the most soundly built character voices I've ever read. All of the details and nuances synch and play well. At firs I think I picked an odd first taste of Harrison. It is a first person narrative of a not-professional writer but self-important rich guy and avid reader becoming more self-aware. It takes a while to get used to the idea that he is writing it that way as if he is trying another man's brain on for size. It works very well though, and by the end of the story I feel like this is one of the most soundly built character voices I've ever read. All of the details and nuances synch and play well. At first I'm like, hey, that's a misplaced modifier, and why is this plausible and important that this guy "speaks" in this regard? As the character develops it becomes truer and cleaner and imaginatively dazzling, and somehow this diatribe seems plausible and likely.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.