Well-Written Novellas Lack Earlier Inventiveness

Winnipeg Free Press, January 12, 2013 | Go to article overview

Well-Written Novellas Lack Earlier Inventiveness


BACK in the day when he was first publishing (Wolf, 1971, Warlock, 1981, Sundog, 1984), Jim Harrison sounded a new note in American fiction: his diction inventive and startling, sentences rhythmic and beautifully turned, paragraphs dense but delightful.

He wrote with verve and passion about ordinary people who found themselves boxed in by life but transcended their condition into a kind of down-home grace. More than a dozen novels have followed.

Harrison, now 75, hails from Michigan and he's always found a place for what he calls "northern Midwest" locales in his work. In this volume, two novellas, he returns to these in The Land of Unlikeness, a journey to the past for the central character, Clive, who lives in New York but has returned home to look after his aging mother.

A failed painter, now a professor of art history, Clive is a big-boned farmer's son who "wanted to be a slender aesthete," but who ended up being a disillusioned dilettante, without "belief in the life he had adopted after giving up painting."

As he comes across locales from his youth, memories are triggered in 60-year-old Clive. The narrative spins back in time: to his teen heartthrob; to memories of fishing with his father; to his early ambitions to be a painter.

It's a story of loss and pain, of missed opportunities and thwarted desires. It's also a bit tiresome: Clive not only revisits the various battlegrounds of his life; he wallows in his defeats. He seems unable to rise above big-city self-importance, and it's a bit grating.

In the title novella, Thad, a northern Michigan high-school boy who has grown up elbow to elbow with natives and wild creatures, has a talent for swimming and the ambition to go to Scripps to study water creatures -- and to swim around Manhattan and from Cuba to Florida.

Though tough in the way of his tribe, Thad is a gentle boy; but he falls awry of the town big-shot and ends in a fight with him, suffering a broken nose, cheek, and jaw. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Well-Written Novellas Lack Earlier Inventiveness
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.