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The Great Leader: A Faux Mystery Audio CD – Audiobook, Unabridged
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Praise for Jim Harrison:
''Reading Jim Harrison is about as close as one can come in contemporary fiction to experiencing the abundant pleasures of living.'' --Boston Globe
''Harrison's fiction . . . is rooted in a deep connection with nature and infused with passion for the vast wilds of America . . . Always as exhilarating as a breath of fresh air.'' --NPR
About the Author
JIM HARRISON is the author of over thirty-one books of poetry, nonfiction, and fiction, including Legends of the Fall, The Road Home, The English Major, and The Farmer's Daughter. His writing has appeared in the New Yorker, Esquire, Sports Illustrated, Playboy, and the New York Times. He has earned a National Endowment for the Arts grant, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Spirit of the West Award from the Mountains & Plains Booksellers Association. His work has been recognized worldwide and published in twenty-two languages.
Top customer reviews
But the fact is, this book is primarily about the journey of Sunderson himself, including his past, much of which is slowly revealed on his camping and walking forays. Sunderson is an unmoored soul, not at all sure what to do with himself. Not only has his lifelong work disappeared but his lengthy marriage to the good-looking, efficient Diane ended three years before, precipitating protracted drinking bouts, which have lessened only slightly.
He is a pretty good looking, unassuming, and friendly guy, who, through the years, instead of badgering suspects and witnesses, is inclined to cut through their defenses by offering to buy them a beer. But much more is at work with Sunderson than first appears. He has a reverence for history, constantly reading and putting matters into perspective. He is a devoted brook trout fisherman, finding fishing trips and the general commune with nature to be regenerating.
Most noticeable about Sunderson, however, is his continued fascination, at age sixty-five, with women, especially those with shapely rear-ends. And his interest is generally reciprocated, which is not without its troubles. His intimate connection with a nurse he met in an Arizona hospital, while recovering from an assault by Dwight's followers, comes with having to deal with her violent Mexican drug lord brother. And there is 16-year-old next door neighbor Mona, who likes to parade in her bedroom sans clothes with lights on and curtains open. Fortunately, Sunderson is able to redirect that mutual interest. It turns out that she is a computer sleuth extraordinaire and is immensely helpful in nailing down the mysterious Dwight.
The story is really rather ragged - not to mention the writing style - proceeding by leaps and jerks, often with Sunderson in the wilderness on the edge of getting lost or freezing to death. And there is the distracting untidiness of his moving every few days in Arizona, often abruptly, not to mention his unsatisfactory dealings with his mother and siblings who live in Arizona. Most interesting about the book are the musings of Sunderson on all manner of subjects. He works through some of his thinking via long conversations with his friend Marion, a half-Indian school principal in the UP. And although Sunderson is a lusty old guy, he seems to gain a certain stability in his life through his dealings with women.
Harrison's writing resonates with me, and always has. While I don't think that this book is his best, I do appreciate a writer that seems to write the way he wants to, and not write to cater to any particular editor or audience. If you, as a reader, enjoy a story that confronts class inequalities, the historical mistreatment of Native Americans, a stubborn drive to "make things right," the courage to look back on life's glaring missteps, and an honest acknowledgement of his protagonist's weaknesses and imperfections, sexual and otherwise--all the while expressed in strong, vivid, and sometimes brilliant prose--read this book. (And while, as I said, this book might not be his best, it still easily rates five stars.)