For nearly forty years, Jim Harrison has been one of America's most beloved writers, an award-winning literary giant who has given us such American classics as Dalva, Legends of the Fall, and The Road Home. And he is perhaps just as loved for his ...
personality -- gleefully devoted to life's sensual pleasures, staunchly unpretentious, and ever mindful of the dangers of straying too far from our origin. Now, for the first time, Jim Harrison has put pen to paper to write about his own life -- a life that is the root of his wonderful fiction, and which he captures with a riveting directness and a delightful, peculiar music. In Off to the Side, Harrison writes about his upbringing in Michigan; the austerities of life amid the Depression and the Second World War, and the seemingly greater austerities of his starchy Swedish forebears; and how a boy from the "heartland" somehow ended up a highly paid Hollywood screenwriter and world-renowned novelist. He returns always to his love of literature -- from his first awakenings to the power of writing in his teens, and his youthful decision to model himself on Rimbaud; how books have remained his center, sustaining him during the darkest times of his life. He gives free rein to his "seven obsessions" -- alcohol, food, stripping, hunting and fishing (and dogs), religion, the road, and our place in the natural world -- which he elucidates with earthy wisdom and an elegant sense of connectedness. Above all, he delivers a joyful, meditative, candid, and wise book that is a paean to the complex delights of life. The New York Times Book Review has written that Jim Harrison's work is "a big, wet, sloppy kiss [that] Harrison continues to plant on the face of life itself." Now, for the first time, Harrison has been willing to share his immense spirit with readers in a most personal way. Off to the Side is a work of great beauty and importance that is sure to delight. "Reading Jim Harrison is ... as close as one can come in contemporary fiction to experiencing the abundant pleasures of living." -- The Boston Globe "Harrison has quietly established one of the deeper canons in modern American letters." -- William Porter, The Denver Post "Somewhere in that big literary acreage staked out by Thoreau, Hemingway, and Hunter Thompson is a ... space for Jim Harrison." -- Playboy