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En Route Vers L'ouest
 
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Jim Harrison
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En Route Vers L'ouest

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  865 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
Translation of Westward Ho!
Published (first published January 1st 2000)
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Tony
May 19, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: u-s-lit, jim-harrison
Perhaps I’ve now read too much Jim Harrison. These are three novellas, a form he fancies. The stories – well, two of them – are annoyingly familiar: a post-middle aged man who admires female butts, drinks enormous amounts of liquor, eats enormous amounts of food and will tell you the recipe of every meal, has a job or former job that enabled or required him to read an enormous amount so that he can opine about books and authors, likes to walk and sleep outdoors so that he has acquired a great de ...more
Mark
Jan 02, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Now that I've reached an age (48) where I can look back on the fact that I was early on infatuated with the written word, then had those blind yet powerful feelings develop further into several perhaps precocious stormy love affairs with this genre or that writer and have now settled into what seems to be a lifelong relationship with the written word that at once is and transcends the functional--equal parts mellow acceptance, jaded cynicism leavened by love and respect, like the best of all lif ...more
Caley
Oct 17, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Harrison can be a genius when he's not being an old pervert. This collection fell into the latter of the two. Bummer.
Lieutenant Retancourt
Un livre intéressant et riche en images étasuniennes de routes, de rencontres et d'absurdes personnages. Ça parle un peu trop de mecs par contre mais le lieu (nord de la côte est près des Grands Lacs) est assez riche à découvrir. Un road book qui donne envie de lire plus de Jim Harisson.
Josh
Jan 07, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three Novellas, and I pretty much got this book to read the middle one, which is the third tale of Brown Dog. I'm not really sure why that is sandwiched between to stories of older intellectual types, unless maybe to make it stick out? It didn't fit.

The title story was honestly a bit grueling. It was pretty obviously a Super Ego/Id kind of metaphor that I felt dragged on. It was actually the first thing I've ever not enjoyed of Harrison's. It is essentially the story of a retired book dealer who
...more
Luke
Jul 18, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
For the most part I am a big fan of Harrison, and though the first novella of this collection holds its own, but the remaining stories are weak at best and have a frustrating, suspect autobiographical bent that tends to bleed through the seams of quite a few Harrison tales. I can only read so many tales of the grossly nostalgic middle-aged man who yearns for a youth that in hindsight seems to be motivated largely by sexual triumphs. Even in the title story here, the best offering of the bunch, t ...more
Aaron
Jan 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I did not like him at first. But like a bro from St. Joe he just sort of grows on you after a spell. Jim H is like creeper bud in the 80s when you felt nothing for 20 minutes then all of a sudden you have to pull your banana yella 1977 Bonneville over because gravity has failed once again and you're driving sideways or upside down. Reading Harrison you think at first, well this story sucks then about twenty minutes later you become overwhelmed with vivid memories due to his beautiful prose. You ...more
Ryan
Feb 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first book by Harrison I read. The story The Beast God Forgot to Invent blew me away with its combination of incredible prose, insight to the haman psyche and storyline.

A few times in your literary life you are lucky to find a piece of literature that coincides perfectly to your mood, disposition and expresses the raw colors of emotions trapped inside of you succinctly.
Arika Escalona
Jun 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am a big fan of Jim Harrison, and this may be my favorite book of his. Although there a few might say that about....here he once again is toying with the strange mysteries of the human animal, damaged and brilliant and raw.
Ann
Jun 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love Harrison. Consistently delivers a well written, original plot.
Adam Meyers
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The danger of civilization, of course, is that you will piss away your life on nonsense." That's how the book opens and i now have that tattooed on my ass.
Kent
Jan 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think I picked an odd first taste of Harrison. It is a first person narrative of a not-professional writer but self-important rich guy and avid reader becoming more self-aware. It takes a while to get used to the idea that he is writing it that way as if he is trying another man's brain on for size. It works very well though, and by the end of the story I feel like this is one of the most soundly built character voices I've ever read. All of the details and nuances synch and play well. At firs ...more
Ellen Young
Aug 21, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was torn between four and five stars, but I could have gone either way. This book didn't quite grab me as hard as Dalva, his great novel, did, but that's hardly a criticism, since Dalva was so incredible.

A man has a head injury and veers off into another reality, one where he lives in the woods and sleeps in a hammock high in the trees and becomes so close to bears he can put collars on them. That sounds sort of fairy-tale-ish, but the young man is tortured. He can't speak clearly enough to b
...more
Nathan
Nov 11, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first two of the three short books hold water. The last story is where some exhaustion sets in - perhaps in part due to the protagonist's own indecisive wallowing. Often "unsympathetic" characters are unjustifiably singled out in lazy criticism, but here I am. The first novella's character is a wealthy recluse whose deflated energies are trying yet amusing enough in contrast to the secondary character, a "present-dwelling" and literally brainless man/beast. However, the passion-drained-impot ...more
Paul
Jun 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
"Two [businessmen:] shook hands with the outsized vigor that made our nation what it is today."

Finally Harrison comes through with a novella collection in which all three shine. This is definitely the best of his collections I've read so far (still have Julip to go). The Brown Dog novella isn't the best of the BDs, but it's still great. I think it's the first-person I in the other two novellas that really lets Harrison's voice come through and link up with his ridiculously amazing penchant for s
...more
Jean
May 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm typically not a fan of short stories, usually finding that time for proper character development is lacking. Not so, with these short stories though.
Of the 3 included , the first one," The Beast That God Forgot to Invent", is the one that's stayed with me the longest.

The story revolves around a man with a brain injury, how the people who love him interact with him, interspersed with snippets of studies on the brain and musings on our rewiring of same after an injury.
Having always been fascin
...more
Brian
Oct 03, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The title novella is about a young man named Joe who becomes the focus of unrequited love and community fascination after a car accident wipes out his short term memory. Joe wanders the north woods living part of the time on government land while carrying on torrid romances with woman who will never catch him.
The narrator is an older mostly-retired book dealer who looks after Joe's well-being while quietly lusting after his women.

I did not read the second story, finding the language impenetra
...more
Marc
Jan 16, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finally finished this. I actually didn't think the first novella was that great, and it was the basis of the title of the book, but did enjoy the second 2. The one about the Native American that loses his bear skin could definitely be made into a movie and could be quite humorous, though not sure if it would be long enough. The themes of this guy's books are a bit repetitive after reading only 2 of his, so I probably won't read anymore, but there were a few moments of brilliance and the stories ...more
B. R. Reed
Feb 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first experience with the writing of Jim Harrison and I was much impressed. This book is composed of three short stories and I like the title story the best of the three. In this story we have something of what might be called a story of a "natural man" who spends much of his time in the woods of the U.P. of Michigan. There are are a couple of young ladies who also appreciate and love the natural man. The sex is good. I have since read three Harrison novels and have found him to be a ...more
Jim Puskas
Oct 26, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book contains three stories and in all three, I found myself trying to figure out just what the stories are all about. They're not classifiable as having to do with war, crime, terrorism, adventure, exploration, romance, philosophy, mysticism, finance, politics, natural history, travel, economics, science ..... or any other recognizable aspect of life, real or imaginary. Eventually, I figured it out, Jim Harrison: It's all about YOU. There's almost no skill, accomplishment or insight at whi ...more
Mike
Nov 16, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have a friend who tolerated Jim Harrison's writing well enough but hated him as a teacher. Given the frequently jaundiced outlook of this friend, I was not surprised by his dismissive take. Without actually meeting Harrison and only reading his stuff, my review is much more limited.

For me, the best part of this collection is this line from the first book: "...it's really hard on a soul to admit how much of life we have spent being full of shit." Now this is a credo I can rally around!

Otherwis
...more
Anthony
I actually only read the first two novellas of this three-piece collection.

I'm not a huge Harrison reader (but then, I'm not a huge _anyone_ reader), but the books I've read by him before this one left favorable impressions on me. I don't like his style of writing at times, but I always loved the content. Neither of the two I read, however, quite matched those. I can't really expand on why this is.

Other Harrison books I've read (and I liked them all): True North, Returning to Earth, and A Good D
...more
Jeffrey
Jul 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Harrison at his finest.

Any Harrison offering with a novella featuring the character Brown Dog is a slaunch IMO.

Three novellas in this book: The Beast God Forgot to Invent, Westward Ho, I Forgot to go to Spain.

Like a cheese sandwich; Brown Dog in the middle with bread on either side. The leading bread was delicious and unique, the tailing bread was sorta stale and middling, the cheese in the middle is where it's at for me.

Brown Dog remains one of my favorite literary characters.
Becky
At first I found these stories annoying, too self-indulgent. But then I realized that, in the first of three stories, anyway, that was kind of the point. I also couldn't figure out a genre, and that made me a bit uncomfortable, but by the time I finished the book I was thinking that the stories remind me of Sherman Alexie's stories: Amidst what seem like rambling, somewhat unlikely occurrences, there are observations about the human condition that make sense to me. I've picked up another volume ...more
Kevin Hughes
I give a mixed review to this collection of three stories by Jim Harrison. On the one hand, I'm pretty much through with the guy. Too much depressing and meaningless sexuality in his stories. On the other hand, he's really good at what he does -- he writes entertainingly about old men having bouts of humorously self-aware depression. But still, enough already.
Maryalice
Dec 13, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had a hard time rating this collection of novellas. The title story deserved a 5; I'd give Westward Ho a 4; but reading I Forgot To Go To Spain was painful -- and not in a good way! Jim Harrison is a great writer. Great! But all of his characters are Jim Harrison, and it can be hit or miss. I loved the first two stories and whole-heartedly recommend them!
Paul Thebert
Feb 14, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would give this trio of novellas 3.5 stars if I could. I really liked the first story - a really different way to think about someone who has had a closed head injury. I liked the middle story less, and the last one even less than that.
I'd still recommend the book, but try to find it at a discount.
Connie
Jan 30, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"New York City layered oblong onions of life ,its towering glued-together slices of separate realities held together by plumbing pipes and brittle skins of stone"

3 novellas, the above from Westward Ho and another on on I forgot to go to Spain and the Title novella about care taking for a brain injured woodsman who has to do things his way.
Nina
Jul 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
These are really incredible. Three short stories that don't suffer from the problem that most short story collections have, which is that you can't remember which one is which. These are all incredible well-drawn and specific. And, as an added bonus for me, they take place in Northern Michigan and L.A. Fantastic.
Jen Helfand
May 05, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
ooof. this was recommended to me and i was really hoping to like it more. i didn't make it through the first story. i liked the premise and the way the writing took lots of twists and turns. i couldn't get over the main character's perspective, which challenged me personally. it was a good exercise to read, but not worth finishing. i may try another one of his books another time.
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17055
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
...more
More about Jim Harrison...
“The danger of civilization, of course, is that you will piss away your life on nonsense.” 79 likes
“I suppose in antique Marxist terms we are lavishly paid because we are perfect tools for the class even higher up, those who own the ballpark. You can occasionally have some sympathy for those frequently unhappy souls with big inheritances from birth. This was fate in which the sense of victimization is always possible. But my own class is undeserving of a mote, a mite, a filament, an iota of sympathy. We are self-made barkers, toy dogs, prime weenies.” 0 likes
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