(US, 1937– )
Born in Michigan, Harrison contrasts the serenity of the American landscape and natural world with the squalid antagonism of human relations. His fiction typically depicts a post-Vietnam America of drugs, guns, bluecollar bars, and potential violence. His style is, however, poetic and richly allusive; masculine concerns are sometimes viewed satirically. A Good Day to Die (1973), his second novel, takes shape as its narrator meets a speed-crazed Vietnam veteran in a bar and takes off across country to blow up a dam at the Grand Canyon as an ecological protest. The two men share a woman, and the book expertly charts the sexual tensions between them, leading to a despairing finale. Harrison is best known for his collections of three novellas: Legends of the Fall (1979), has a title story which evolves over fifty years in the life of William Ludlow, from his sons joining the Canadian army to battles with bootleggers. The Woman Lit by Fireflies (1990) shows a greater range, and even humour: in ‘Sunset Limited’ a group of former radicals return to spring a friend from jail.
Richard Ford, William Faulkner, Ken Kesey JS