“[These novellas] prove again that Harrison is our greatest nonwriterly writer.” Newsweek
The Beast God Forgot to Invent
978-0-8021-3836-1 • $16.00 • Paperback • Nov. 2001
The Sunday Times
of London has called Jim Harrison “a writer with immortality in him” and The Washington Times has written that
“Jim Harrison ought to be considered a national treasure.” In The Beast God Forgot to Invent, this
American master gives us three novellas that sparkle with the generous humanity
and seasoned wisdom of his vision.
These are stories of humans and beasts, of culture and
wildness, of men driven crazy by longing and of men who dream they are becoming
bears. In “The Beast God Forgot to Invent,” a man near the end of his life
becomes part of an odd band of caretakers for a younger man whose brain has
been damaged in a motorcycle accident, the civilization shaken out of him.
Watching over this unmanned man, the hero becomes mindful of his own mortality
and excess of civility. In “Westward Ho,” Brown Dog, a Michigan Indian, wanders
the wilds of Los Angeles, tracking the ersatz Native activist with whom he fled
the police in Michigan and who’s now disappeared with his bearskin. Ogling girls,
sleeping in the botanic garden, and working as a driver to a drunk
screenwriter, he eventually comes face-to-face with his ex-friend and with the
difference between the world he’s been visiting and the world to which he’s
going home. And in “I Forgot to Go to Spain,” an aging “alpha canine,” author
of three dozen Bioprobes—hundred page disposable biographies—takes dinner with
a woman to whom he was married for nine days in his overheated youth. Reminding
him of his youthful dream of living in Spain as a poet, she forces him to
examine who he’s become, whether he owns his life or it him.
Infused with Jim Harrison’s sly humor and quiet wisdom,
these are stories with the expansive grace of the American landscape, urban and
rural. This book is a resonant journey through the geography of masculinity
from a writer in his prime.