Hailed by "The New York Times Book Review" as "a master ... who makes the ordinary extraordinary, the unnamable unforgettable," beloved author Jim Harrison returns with a masterpiece--a tender, profound, and magnificent novel about life, death, and finding redemption in unlikely places. Slowly dying of Lou Gehrig's Disease, Donald, a middle-aged ...Read MoreHailed by "The New York Times Book Review" as "a master ... who makes the ordinary extraordinary, the unnamable unforgettable," beloved author Jim Harrison returns with a masterpiece--a tender, profound, and magnificent novel about life, death, and finding redemption in unlikely places. Slowly dying of Lou Gehrig's Disease, Donald, a middle-aged Chippewa-Finnish man, begins dictating family stories he has never shared with anyone, hoping to preserve history for his children. The dignity of Donald's death and his legacy encourages his loved ones to find a way to redeem--and let go of--the past, whether through his daughter's emersion in Chippewa religious ideas or his mourning wife's attempt to escape the malevolent influence of her own father. A deeply moving book about origins and endings, and how to live with honor for the dead, "Returning to Earth" is one of the finest novels of Harrison's long, storied career, and will confirm his standing as one of the most important American writers now working.Read Less
I found the characters so boring that I gave up reading this book; just could not get into it.
P.S. I very seldom fail to finish a book. It was that bad.
Apr 1, 2007
Life in a Northern Town
Once again Harrison returns to a land that he is very familiar with, the Upper Penisula of Michigan. In this book he follows a family as they deal with the illness and death of a husband, father, and friend. An insightful tale of both the way of life in the North and the thoughts of joy and grief that a death creates.
Publishers Weekly, 2007-03-26 Harrison's novel of a dying man's retelling of his complex family history requires multiple readers to bring it to life. Svendsgaard, Porter, Weiner and Garcia all stick close to the rueful and world-weary, with long pauses and a subtle downturn of intonation marking their readings. They tag-team Harrison's prose, which shifts back and forth between the reminiscences of its protagonists, with Svendsgaard often leaping in to amend or second the stray thoughts of dying Donald Burkett. Weiner, as Donald, gives his reading just the right flat, clipped tone, each sentence ending abruptly and without warning. Donald's memories, in Weiner's rendering, are less the florid interior dramas of a romantically rendered past than the honest remembrance of what once was. The other readers follow Weiner's lead, echoing his spare performance ably and underscoring his fine work. Simultaneous release with the Grove hardcover (Reviews, Sept. 25). (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 2006-09-25 Dying at 45 of Lou Gehrig's disease, Donald, who is Chippewa- Finnish, dictates his family story to his wife, Cynthia, who records this headlong tale for their two grown children (and also interjects). Donald's half-Chippewa great-grandfather, Clarence, set out from Minnesota in 1871 at age 13 for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. In Donald's compellingly digressive telling, Clarence worked the farms and mines of the northern Midwest, and arrived in the Marquette, Mich., area 35 years later. As Donald weaves the tale of his settled life of marriage and fatherhood with that of his restless ancestors, he reveals his deep connection to an earlier, wilder time and to a kind of people who are "gone forever." The next three parts of the novel, each narrated by a different member of Donald's family, relate the story of Donald's death and its effects. While his daughter, Clare, seeks solace in Donald's Anishnabeg religion, Cynthia and her brother, David, use Donald's death to come to terms with the legacy of their alcoholic father. The rambling narrative veers away from the epic sweep of Harrison's Legends of the Fall, and Donald's reticence about the role religion plays in his life dilutes its impact on the story. But Harrison's characters speak with a gripping frankness and intimacy about their own shortcomings, and delve into their grief with keen sympathy. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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