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Newly divorced and robbed of his farm by his real-estate shark of an ex-wife, Cliff is off on a road trip across America, on a mission to rename all the states and state birds and redeem them from the banal names men have given them.
Cliff's adventures take him through a whirlwind affair with a former student from his high-school teaching days 20-some years before, to a snake farm in Arizona owned by an old classmate, and into the high-octane existence of his son, a big-time movie producer. A map of a man's journey into - and out of - himself, The English Major is vintage Harrison: reflective, big-picture American, and replete with wicked wit.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Scott on 12-02-08
A picaresque novel for baby boomers
Mark Bramhall sets just the right tone for the first person narration of Cliff, a former English major, high school teacher and farmer. 60-year-old Cliff is in the dumps because his wife has left him, his beloved dog has died, and his farm has been sold out from under him. So he takes off on a cross country road trip. This is a novel of ideas more than action, and the context of a road trip allows Cliff to muse on the nature of love and marriage, fidelity, loss, career choices, fishing, natural beauty and changes of fortune. The narrator captures the tension between the ennui Cliff feels at his losses, and the growing excitement of new landscapes and unplanned days. Harrison's prose is pleasantly conversational, yet elegant in its simplicity and lack of artifice.
28 of 28 people found this review helpful
By John on 12-26-08
Amusing and fun
I was laughing out loud at several parts in this story. Just the phrasing used by the main character to show his views on the world was sometimes hilarious, though dilivered quite dry. The narration seemed dead-on to me, meaning the voice and inflection seemed just right to me for an ex-farmer from Michigan... but then, who knows? just a perception. I just know he made me laugh.
On the down side, i felt that the character didn't really "get" anywhere. This is not the kind of book i often get (usually get detective stories), so not sure what i expected. Maybe that he'd grow a little more? I guess what i'm saying is that the ending left me disappointed, but in all, i enjoyed the trip.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful