New York Times-bestselling author Jim Harrison (1937-2016) was a writer with a poet's economy of style and a trencherman's appetites. A collection of pieces-from the near-classic to the never-published-that muse on everything from grouse hunting and ocean fishing to Zen Buddhism and matters of the spirit, as well as reporting on Yellowstone and shark-tagging in the open Atlantic, commentary on writers from Bukowski to Neruda to Peter Matthiessen, and a heartbreaking essay on life-and, for those attempting to cross in the ever-more-dangerous gaps, death-on the US-Mexico border.
Harrison is almost the textbook example of a belletrist—someone who writes essays more for their aesthetic effect than anything else ... But there’s a deep spirit of generosity and a sense of mortality here that makes you let such things pass ... He’s never purposefully opaque. It just comes out that way sometimes. There are gems throughout his writing and seldom any warning when one is about to pop up ... He writes most expansively in the first half of the book, where something as mundane as the discovery, while hunting, of a pair of blue panties lying in the grass rouses him to insights about beauty ... In tracing his own appetites, Harrison comes to grips with life and concludes that the best you can do is live it voraciously.
Spanning 45 years, this new bevy of essays and musings bursts with insight, adventure, and well-lived experiences, from literature to fishing and hunting to life in Michigan’s UP, Montana, Patagonia, and Arizona ... Although the subjects in Harrison’s rich, vibrant, and enjoyable essays were at times steered by who was footing the bill, his writing is always and truly 'genuine.' Forthright, perpetually curious, and compassionate, Harrison remains wholly compelling and readers will be grateful that this buoyant, observant, and caring writer took time away from his sublime poetry to create these enriching essays.
The boozy gourmand and superb writer recounts a long life of misbehavior, fishing, books, and wandering ... Readers who don’t object to pages full of trout, elk, and day drinking will find the essays endlessly charming, and the more adventurous of them will want to retrace Harrison’s travels in places like the northerly canyons of the Yellowstone River and the Sandhills of Nebraska ... An essential installment in the Harrison canon.