The Beast God Forgot to Invent

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Overview

Jim Harrison is an American master, and The Beast God Forgot to Invent is a book that The New York Times Book Review called "a big, wet, sloppy kiss [that] Harrison continues to plant on the face of life itself." These are stories of culture and wildness, of men and beasts and where they overlap. A wealthy man retired to the Michigan woods narrates the tale of a younger man decivilized by brain damage. A Michigan Indian wanders Los Angeles, hobnobbing with starlets and screenwriters while he tracks an ersatz ...
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THIS IS A FIRST EDITION HARDCOVER BOOK 2000 THE DUST COVER AND THE BOOK ARE IN BRAND NEW U NUSED PRISTINE CONDITION 00--01-02-03 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1.

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New York, New York, U.S.A. 2000 Hard Cover First Edition New in New jacket 8vo. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000. First edition, first printing. 8vo. Hard cover binding, ... 274 pp. New in new dust jacket, protected with an archival-quality mylar cover. Read more Show Less

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New York, NY 2000 Hard cover First Edition. Signed by the Author. A beautiful copy in a brodart dust jacket cover. Glued binding. Paper over boards. With dust jacket. 274 p. ... Audience: General/trade. Stated First Edition and Signed by the Author on the Title Page. Read more Show Less

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The Beast God Forgot to Invent

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Overview

Jim Harrison is an American master, and The Beast God Forgot to Invent is a book that The New York Times Book Review called "a big, wet, sloppy kiss [that] Harrison continues to plant on the face of life itself." These are stories of culture and wildness, of men and beasts and where they overlap. A wealthy man retired to the Michigan woods narrates the tale of a younger man decivilized by brain damage. A Michigan Indian wanders Los Angeles, hobnobbing with starlets and screenwriters while he tracks an ersatz Native-American activist who stole his bearskin. An aging "alpha canine," the author of three dozen throwaway biographies, eats dinner with the ex-wife of his overheated youth, and must confront the man he used to be.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Poet, essayist and novelist Harrison (Dalva, etc.) has long been acclaimed for his portrayal of human appetites--sexual, artistic--and his descriptions of Michigan's wilderness. In this collection of three witty novellas, he dissects two high-strung, slightly lecherous intellectuals, men who cannot tear themselves away from their books or work, who drink and gourmandize to blunt the sense of waste that taints their silver years. Harrison treats these characters with empathy but, as always, he contrasts them unfavorably to more instinctual, thus happier, men. The title novella, which begins slowly but is the most affecting of the trio, is narrated by Norman Arnz, a wealthy 67-year-old book dealer who lives in a cabin in northern Michigan. Norman's peaceful retirement is disturbed when his friendship with a virile, brain-damaged man exacerbates the feeling that he has lived his life too timidly. Similarly, the protagonist of "I Forgot to Go to Spain" is a 55-year-old pulp biographer who has left behind the romantic ideals of his graduate school days and gone on to earn millions compiling the sort of books that "fairly litter bookstores, newsstands [and] novelty counters at airports." When he recognizes that compulsive work habits have deprived him of his dreams, he hopelessly tries to reignite an old flame (only to find she prefers her gardener). Sandwiched between these two novellas comes "Westward Ho," finally starring a man who is content in his own skin: Brown Dog, an easygoing woodsman who has appeared in two of Harrison's previous tales. This time the Native American from Michigan brings "real emotion" to Hollywood when he maneuvers his way among movie insiders in order to recover a stolen bear rug. Throughout the volume, Harrison's intricate symbolism and scathing observations of urban foibles, his sly humor and vibrant language remind readers that he is one of our most talented chroniclers of the masculine psyche, intellectual or not. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Library Journal
In much of his work, Harrison (Legends of the Fall, Farmer) mines the territory of masculinity, showing how his heroes either thrive because of it or succumb to it. The three novellas that make up this book are no different, only updated to transplant his world-weary men from their usual countrified digs to the big city. In "Westward Ho," a Michigan Indian tracks his stolen bearskin to Los Angeles, where he not only finds the thief but also prostitutes, crazy Hollywood types, and expensive bottled waters. (A nod is given to author Sherman Alexie.) In "I Forgot To Go to Spain," a disenchanted biographer jumpstarts his life after a reunion with his first wife (of nine days) is less than heartening. Such brief descriptions cannot convey the leisurely pace of these tales, which seem determined to embody the aimlessness of their protagonists. In fact, the title story, about a clan trying to rein in their impulsive, brain-damaged friend, meanders too much for its own good. Even so, Harrison fans will appreciate the effort, and new readers might find this lighter, less solemn work a good introduction to Harrison's writing. For larger libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/00.]--Marc Kloszewski, Indiana Free Lib., PA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
From The Critics
The title novella of Harrison's new collection is worth the price of admission itself. The Beast God Forgot to Invent is a fine example of mid-length fiction: engaging, surprising, intelligent and sophisticated in an off-handed way, perceptive and finally moving, with a poignancy that functions on several levels. Set in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, it's the tale of a motley crew of caretakers who gather around a vigorous young man whose brain has been damaged in an accident, rendering him both simpler-minded and more virile. Harrison mines an unlikely triangle of Hemingway, Oliver Sacks, and, say, Updike or Cheever, and comes up with gold: a glimpse of a world that seems real and particular, yet shot through with common issues.

This is writing with gravitas, blending humor, wisdom, and tragedy with the sure sense that has won Harrison great acclaim (he is the author of ten works of fiction, including Legends of the Fall, as well as a number of volumes of poetry). Where the title story works wonderfully well, the next two novellas don't quite live up to the promise of the first. "Westward Ho" is a latter-day picaresque, a Michigan Indian's odyssey through Los Angeles on the trail of a stolen buffalo skin. Brown Dog, the protagonist, deserves better than the deliberately zany adventures he's thrust into when he's shanghaied as driver for an alcoholic screenwriter. The writing itself is first-rate, sentence by sentence, and often laugh-out-loud funny, but the slapstick satire is directed at such dead-horse targets as Hollywood excess, star wannabes, and political hypocrisy, and Brown Dog, as a Native American Candide, veers wildly between Gumpish naïvete—he thinks a woman he sees in an X-rated movie is a genuine star, for example—and knowing repartee: when his boss asks him what he's doing, he replies, "I just finished my yoga and I'm doing my hair." It's a mix that doesn't quite gel—at least to A-list Harrison standard. Finally, "I Forgot to Go to Spain" tells the story of a commercially successful writer confronting several roads not taken. Played out mainly in Manhattan with a momentous trip to Chicago and Midwestern heartland, it's often wise, ruefully sophisticated, and authentically witty, but again the characters seem a little too colorful, too convenient to be quite real. Even with these caveats, though, there's much to savor in both pieces; mainly they suffer only by comparison with the title novella, which is well crafted and finished in every respect.

Dwight Garner
What makes these novellas darker and more emotionally complicated than Harrison's earlier work is a strong whiff of mortality . . .
New York Times Book Review
Kirkus Reviews
Another trio of novellas from Harrison (Julip, 1994, etc.) that, to varying degrees of success, revisits themes and characters from earlier work.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780871138217
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/31/2000
  • Edition description: FIRST EDITION
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 274
  • Product dimensions: 6.36 (w) x 9.31 (h) x 1.31 (d)

Table of Contents

The Beast God Forgot to Invent 1
Westward Ho 99
I Forgot to Go to Spain 187
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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