Citizen Review: The Farmer’s Daughter

We continue our occasional series of customer reviews with M&Q’s own Shawn Neary reviewing the new collection of three novellas from Jim Harrison.

The Farmer’s Daughter
When in our store and walking underneath the low ceiling in literature, you may have noticed Jim Harrison’s books off to your right. These are the books whose jackets bear a certain resemblance to one another. They are, by and large, paintings in muted colors, of quiet landscapes and powerful, solitary animals (the odd Legend of the Fall movie tie-in being the exception). The three novellas within The Farmer’s Daughter, Harrison’s latest, possess this same relational quality. While there’s no direct tie between Sarah Anitra Holcomb, Brown Dog, or the nameless narrator of “Games of the Night,” the same measured pace, the same types of challenges, the same turns of phrase, even the same songs (Patsy’s Cline’s The Saddest Word in Lonesome is Me is mentioned a number of times) appear throughout these pages. The characters examined–a home-schooled daughter of Montana, a some-time rabble rouser and full-time father fleeing the law, and a man prone to monthly blackouts and compulsions to insatiable violence–are molded by actions from which there is no going back and emerge, to paraphrase Harrison’s description of the farmer’s daughter from which this book takes its name, terribly certain of themselves.
Shawn Neary is excited to write a 200 word review of Updike’s Rabbit novels. He could kind of go for a pizza right now and misses Book It in a bad way.