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Brown Dog

4.08  ·  Rating Details  ·  882 Ratings  ·  153 Reviews
“Among the most indelible American novelists of the last hundred years. . . . [Harrison] remains at the height of his powers.”—Dwight Garner, The New York Times on The River Swimmer

New York Times best-selling author Jim Harrison is one of America’s most beloved writers, and of all his creations, Brown Dog, a bawdy, reckless, down-on-his-luck Michigan Indian, has earned cul
Hardcover, 525 pages
Published December 3rd 2013 by Grove Press
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I loved this new collection of novellas from one of my favorite writers. Harrison’s character Brown Dog is one of those unforgettable creations in literature, an outrageous womanizer with a good heart and a guy who makes the concept of “live one day at a time” really come alive. The set of Brown Dog adventures is a powerful fix within one set of covers, spanning his first appearance in 1990’s “Women Lit by Fireflies” and his latest incarnation in 2010’s “The Farmer’s Daughter.”

What opens my hea
Jun 21, 2014 Stephanie rated it really liked it
Brown Dog, or B.D., is a simple man of simple needs and simple pleasures. These are in no particular order, sex, alcohol, cooking, sex, nature, sex, menial work, alcohol, fishing, sex, alcohol....etc.

The 'Dog' part of B.D.'s name is supposedly because it's his spirit animal being a dog, but I think he lives up to it in other ways.

This book is a series of novellas about B.D., part white and part Chippewa, who lives in the U.P. of Michigan(I hear it's lovely.) He is a man who has mastered the art
Jul 07, 2015 Tony rated it really liked it
Shelves: u-s-lit, jim-harrison
I have been accused recently of not taking things seriously, by a fictional character no less. I did not dwell on that, figuring I'd wait for more specific charges. I suppose I could file a request for a Bill of Particulars - some things? all things? - but then I'd be taking it seriously, and why ruin someone's week.

Maybe that's why Brown Dog is one of my favorite characters. Brown Dog doesn't take anything seriously; except, of course, when he does.

This book is a compilation of all the previous
These are six or seven little novellas about a guy named Brown Dog, or B.D., who may or may not be part Indian, he doesn't know. The stories are full of petty crimes and sex all around the northern parts of Michigan mostly, first published separately over several years and then collected here into chronological order. For some reason I, a female, like this kind of a manly book on occasion -- like I enjoy Lansdale or Russo or Cobin. This one, unfortunately, went on way too long and repeated itsel ...more
Sal Glynn
Nov 19, 2013 Sal Glynn rated it it was amazing

Brown Dog, B.D. to his friends and some law officers, is a man of great heart and few needs in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. He lives in deer shacks out of season in exchange for repairs, wets a line for brown trout, and generally sticks to the land except for when his taste for beer and women get the best of him. This may not seem like much to the general reader, but Harrison follows Stendahl's definition of the novel (or in his case, novellas) as "a mirror, taking a walk down a big road." Brown
Jan 22, 2014 Keith rated it it was amazing
Brown Dog or BD as he's known to his friends and family, is almost the perfect anti-hero. Almost, because if he were any more perfect he would be unbelievable and he is very believable. I know this man; I know the country he comes from and I know his people. He's the real deal. Raised by his white grandfather but growing up among mostly Chippewa in Michigan's upper peninsula he assumes he may be part Chippewa himself but he can't be certain because, orphaned at an early age, he never knew his pa ...more
Washington Post
Dec 03, 2013 Washington Post rated it liked it
Harrison is arguably America’s foremost master of the novella and this volume collects his works. Harrison’s work is about the transcendence of wildness. Many of his characters don’t care what society thinks. They want freedom, outside the mainstream, unburdened by the responsibilities of modern life.

Porter Shreve reviewed the book for us:
Nov 12, 2013 Ann rated it really liked it
This is a collection of short stories about a native upper Michigan dweller who survives with the help of his friends. You can learn about some of the Native American culture and northern winters. Stories flow into each other but are readable as individual stories.
Apr 15, 2014 Susan rated it it was amazing
I don't rate books five stars very often, but Jim Harrison's Brown Dog novellas are simply wonderful. I am in love with B.D. He's half in the bag, interested in fishing and women pretty much to the exclusion of all else, but what he really represents is the natural man. A naif. A gentle soul living a zen life. Wanting nothing except the most primal things: food, booze and sex. He never holds anyone else responsible for his failings. He partakes of nature as deliberately as a bear, using but not ...more
Oct 18, 2014 Carola rated it liked it
Recommended to Carola by: New Yorker review
Shelves: short-stories
I put this on my list after it was eviewed in the New Yorker. I enjoyed the first novella, but two-thirds into the second one, I was uncertain about whether or not the character had anything else to tell me. I'm glad I kept going...Brown Dog did grow on me, despite his many character flaws. In the end, the subtle and incomplete changes in his personality are very realistic. Despite the chaos that Harrison has written into Brown Dog's life, and without wrangling some unbelievable change of fortun ...more
Mar 05, 2014 Charles rated it really liked it
A few months ago I read A Woman Lit By Fireflies. I loved the novella Brown Dog. I loved the writing. I made a pledge to read the rest of the novellas. Then I saw this collection of BD novellas, and I bought it figuring I probably won't live long enough to honor all my pledges. Plus I like cake.

I see a lot of myself in BD and even more in a friend who likes fishing, baseball and drinking. I see a lot of BD in many men I know who are experts at some arcane male pastime but know next to nothing
Jennifer Doyle
Jun 23, 2015 Jennifer Doyle rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Well that was completely unexpected. Enjoyed this far more than I ever expected to. There wasn't much available to check out from my online audiobook library so I downloaded this series of novellas about Brown Dog. He loves women, sex, beer, schnapps, and the outdoors. He lives life on the fringes of society in the UP, with side adventures that take him to Canada and California. He even has a criminal record. But this man has a huge heart and is the most sensitive man character I've ever had the ...more
Sep 24, 2013 Clay marked it as to-read
Jim Harrison is one of my favorite all-time writers. Really looking forward to a new Brown Dog.
Apr 17, 2014 Rick rated it liked it
“Brown Dog” (Grove Press, 1013) by Jim Harrison is a compilation of the six novellas he wrote centered on the namesake main character, all showing this personality working his way through a number of everyday life events. This book collects the first five novellas, which were written between 1990 and 2010, into one continuous story and adds a new sixth and probably final chapter.

When I started in on Brown Dog I was immediately puzzled … probably because I looked for a set-up and a denouement … b
Feb 03, 2014 Tony rated it really liked it
BROWN DOG. (2013). Jim Harrison. ****.
I didn’t do my homework on this book before ordering it from the library. I thought: “Great! A whole novel on one of my favorite characters, Brown Dog.” Wrong. This is a collection of six novellas about the character, Brown Dog, five of which had been previously published in earlier books. The saving grace is that the sixth novella, “He Dog,” is an original piece appearing here for the first time. The first five novellas are, indeed, worth reading again. The
Apr 20, 2016 Matt rated it it was amazing
I'd never read any of the BROWN DOG novellas, so it was a treat to read them all in one go (honestly, I can't even imagine waiting for twenty years to get them all... and I thought George R. R. Martin took a long time...).

Many others have attempted to describe this series of novellas and have done a much better job than I can, but suffice it to say that this is a "picaresque" novel in the classic tradition -- Brown Dog, the main character, begins the series as nothing much more than a human ID,
Feb 18, 2014 Jim rated it liked it
Ok, I should own up that "read" in this case means about a third of the book, and I considered just removing it from my lists, but the truth of the matter is that I was enjoying the book and its main character, but I just can't see it being any more than it already is. Originally presented in serial form, I am told, these novellas would be wonderful digested over a long period, kind of like hearing the latest stories of an office friend as he recounts his regular adventures, but when all of the ...more
Nov 20, 2014 {dvc} rated it really liked it
Shelves: a-w
An avid Harrison reader, I'd read all the novellas collected in this book save for the new one, but thoroughly enjoyed reading them again as a single collection. It was surprising how well they coalesced together as a novel, especially with how the last, new novella plays out.
Jul 01, 2014 David rated it really liked it
The first two and the last of this bunch are 5 star material. Jim has the ability to be very funny and then his humor can be goofy but that is not so bad, I like him and I absolve his characters from their worst jokes. B.D. could make bad jokes throughout and still be likeable. And these stories are good because they hit on subjects I like to read about - woodsing, Indiansing, fishing, eating, sexing. Lots of animals and ravens and bears and dogs and and Delmore, the old GM employee who made a s ...more
Jan 11, 2014 Tom rated it it was amazing
This is to Philip Roth's Everyman as Harrison's writing is to Roth's. Much more humble and humorous. I enjoyed Everyman, but I loved this. Brown Dog is a lesson in simplicity. He has never left the nirvana (in the original sense of the word) that so many stuggle to regain. A great exploration of love, sex, work and life, and a reminder that we are mammals. Also an interesting look at how Harrisons writing has changed, as the five novellas were written over 20+ years. I read the other four years ...more
Oct 23, 2014 nina rated it really liked it
I so enjoyed reading this, I couldn't wait for bedtime each night to pick it up again. It made me notice how rarely I feel this way about books any more. Jim Harrison succeeds at a very difficult task here: He takes pretty much the same story and retells it in a number of novellas. The first time it is a hilarious tall-tale, but by the last time, it is an allegory of the human condition. The balancing act isn't perfect: sometimes BD has too extensive a vocabulary to be the nitwit he is supposed ...more
Lisa Beaulieu
Apr 03, 2014 Lisa Beaulieu rated it liked it
Usually when I read Jim Harrison I have a bunch of scrawled quotes from his beautiful writing on pieces of paper all over the house when I finish. And the first Brown Dog novella in Woman Lit By Fireflies sent me over the moon. I fell absolutely in love with BD and at the same time wanted to become like him myself. So I was thrilled when I heard this book was out.

I enjoyed it, because I love BD. But it is crazy the way it is written! Each paragraph can and does have any number of random pieces o
Gaylord Dold
Mar 27, 2014 Gaylord Dold rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: General Readers
Harrison, Jim. Brown Dog, Grove Press, New York, 2014 (525pp. $27)

Few American writers---Mark Twain comes to mind, the early Hemingway of the “Nick Adams Stories”, or in short bursts, Henry Miller, leave so much of their own blood and sinew on the written page as Jim Harrison, that fearless and open-hearted story teller. Nowhere in his fifty-year career does so much of Harrison the man saturate the page as in his cultish and gregarious tales of Brown Dog, a part Chippewa denizen of Michigan’s Up
Mar 06, 2014 Isabelle rated it really liked it
Although all but the last of the novellas have already been published in separate collections, this is the first time a whole book is dedicated to Brown Dog, the beloved character that Jim Harrison created years ago and that he keeps bringing back for our sheerest delight. Only the last story is new, but regardless of the fact I had read them all already, it was nice to just spend time with BD again. Actually, it was nicer than nice!
Each novella featuring BD is like another family reunion where
Andy Miller
Feb 23, 2014 Andy Miller rated it really liked it
This is a collection of novellas written by Jim Harrison in the past 20 years about "Brown Dog," who lives in UP,(Upper Michigan) and may or may not have Native American heritage.

A consistent them of the novellas is the contrast with Brown Dog's straightforward life with passions for fishing, alcohol, hard work when needed and of course women, and those with the middle class values that are slowly encroaching on his beloved woods and streams.A favorite example is the following about the triathle
Feb 06, 2014 Dalonna rated it really liked it
. This is the first book by him that I have read and I definitely will read others. I was shocked to find out that he wrote the screen play, Legends of the Fall, a beautiful movie starring Brad Pitt. Who knew? And I never heard of him. He also seems to live what he write, since he prefers to live in the woods, lives hard and used to drink hard as well.

"Brown Dog" is several novellas in one book, set mainly in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and the main character is a man who is at least half native
Nov 12, 2014 Joseph rated it liked it
This would have been a solid four stars if the collection had ended with "The Summer He Didn't Die".

Brown Dog, a backwoods booze-and-pussy-hound of uncertain parentage, occasionally felonious but only with good reason, is one of the most interesting characters I've encountered in contemporary American literature. Harrison allows him unfettered first person narration through the eponymous novella that opens the collection, and through much of the second, "The Seven-Ounce Man," to often hilarious
I wasn't sure I'd like this as I put the first cd in my car's player. But by the third story, I was caught up in BD's escapades. Brown Dog is a resident of the Michigan UP who likes to keep his life uncomplicated. Summertimes, he lives in hunting cabins and trades repair work for rent. He always carries a construction size black garbage back for sleeping outside - waterproof and amazingly warm. He walks through the woods, fishing or hunting, year-round. In winter, he earns cash shoveling snow. H ...more
Feb 02, 2014 Mark rated it liked it
There is a strong element of Huckleberry Finn in these linked novellas. B.D.---Brown Dog---could easily pass for a 40-something Huck had Huck been born in the second half of the 20th Century and grown up in Upper Michigan. Some of the plot elements Harrison contrives resonate with Twain's story and certainly Brown Dog himself is very much a Voltairean Innocent. But there the comparisons stop and the tales become a catalog of a big dumb, good-natured Horn Dog who cannot manage to think past his f ...more
John Mh
Feb 07, 2015 John Mh rated it it was amazing
I'd read the prior-published Brown Dog novellas as they were published in prior Harrison collections but not the new one capping off this new collection. Owning them all in a single volume is well worth the investment, and the new novella alone is worth the price of admission (as is everything else Harrison has ever written).

Brown Dog, or "B.D.," is the quintessential Harrison character: a ne'er do well northern Michigander, a creature of instinct and well-meaning who invariably manages to do t
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Harrison's Uneven Effort 3 18 Aug 28, 2014 06:17PM  
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Jim Harrison was born in Grayling, Michigan, to Winfield Sprague Harrison, a county agricultural agent, and Norma Olivia (Wahlgren) Harrison, both avid readers. He married Linda King in 1959 with whom he has two daughters.

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

His awards include National Academy of Arts grants
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