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Extended Audio Sample The English Major Audiobook, by Jim Harrison Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,418 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jim Harrison Narrator: Mark Bramhall Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2009 ISBN: 9781455190973
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“It used to be Cliff and Vivian and now it isn't.” With these words, Jim Harrison begins a riotous, moving novel that sends a sixty-something man on a quest of self-rediscovery. 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 to overcome 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 twenty-some years before, to a snake farm in Arizona owned by an old classmate, and to 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “It’s never too early to put aside a great Father’s Day gift. Wives and daughters of America: For your reading Papa, this ribald, questing, utterly charming and Zen-serious novel about being male, sixty and (well, almost) alone, is the book of the year. Guys, if you can’t wait to get going, you ought to just plunk down your money…right away and follow Cliff’s trail.”

    Alan Cheuse, National Public Radio Book Reviews

  • “This ribald, questing, utterly charming and Zen-serious novel about being male, sixty, and (well, almost) alone, is the book of the year.”

    National Public Radio Book Reviews

  • “Funny, spirited…Harrison is consistently witty and engaging.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “This story of a man who gives up the farm and wanders the country is a wonderful piece of work. Narrator Mark Bramhall is the epitome of the rural farmer. His voice, his inflections, his astonishment at the ways of city folk make it easy to ride with Cliff on an American road trip…Bramhall’s sometimes hushed tones mask the character’s world of torment and desire to scream out loud.”

    AudioFile

  • “Harrison creates a complex character…while also capturing the wonders of the natural environment.”

    Booklist

  • A 2008 San Francisco Chronicle Best Book for Fiction
  • One of the 2008 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cathy | 2/15/2014

    " Harrison only gets better and better. I loved this transparently autobiographical novel of a "old geexer" rediscovering himself, warts and all. I did not want this to end - I would relish a sequal. Are all guys like this? Even when they age? Made me look at my husband differently... I love that Cliff took pictures of cows on his cross country trip. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mary | 2/7/2014

    " red neck from Michigan travels to CA and AZ via car stopping in all states in between to throw puzzle pieces out the window. Guy is obsessed with his male anatomy (four letter word starts with D) or maybe all guys are like this and we just don't know their thoughts. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Margie Zylstra | 1/20/2014

    " My first experience reading a book written from a man's perspective. Loved the Michigan references. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carol | 1/8/2014

    " AKA 'Sex and the Road Trip'. Former English teacher, Cliff, drives around the country to different states, hoping to eventually visit all the states, shedding puzzle pieces from an old puzzle map of all the states, as he leaves each state. Meanwhile he can't keep his mind off the opposite sex. Flirting with watresses in the diners etc. Amusing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maree Cox-Baker | 1/5/2014

    " loved it so much that I can't wait to read his other books "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Babs | 1/4/2014

    " Listened to the audio book with hubby. He enjoyed the author's wit and sexual diversions along the way. I preferred the literary references and geography related portions. A little something for both of us. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marsha | 12/18/2013

    " NPR reviewer calls it "book of the year." -- Pretty good "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lorraine | 12/15/2013

    " I can appreciate and understand his midlife crisis and I enjoyed seeing him get out of his rut. Of course, what's not to love about an English? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Erin Harty | 12/13/2013

    " This book was different than I expected. I liked it, I think. It was easy for me to step away from this book and come back to it, even weeks later. Not my favorite, but it was okay. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alan | 11/28/2013

    " My mother recommended this book. It was good, but what was she thinking?! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kathleen | 4/21/2013

    " I was hoping for more road trip storyline after just having made a cross-country trip myself. I was disappointed that there was less about the places themselves and more reminiscing on Cliff's past and his relationships. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Renah | 9/14/2012

    " Really enjoyed this. His writing is by turns unexpectedly beautiful and a perfect representation of midwestern speech. Love it. Would be a 4 except he tends to be kind of crude. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Richard Janzen | 7/16/2012

    " Usually I love books the combine mid-life crisis, travel, and literature...this one didn't hold my attention though...too bad. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Vikki | 7/12/2012

    " I probably chose this book because of the title. It was okay. A guy is divoced from his wife. He takes his childhood puzzle of the U.S. and sets out to visit all fifty states. Jim Harrison definitely is an entertaining writer. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Padraic | 1/26/2012

    " The comparisons to classic "manly" authors are accurate. Weak second half. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Karen | 9/15/2011

    " Not so good - can't really recommend it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary Teodosic | 7/30/2011

    " currently reading this .. references to Michigan,travel,humor and an adventure ..plus book covers by Russell Chatham "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barbara Qureshi | 7/29/2011

    " A little wacky but a good read. After reading lots of murders and mayhem it was a fun change "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mercedes | 6/1/2011

    " I liked Cliff and his mental ramblings and at times this book was very funny. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Patrick | 5/5/2011

    " A fictional stream-of-consciousness memoir of a newly-divorced English major who attempts to reconnect with his younger yearnings for a "life of the mind" after abandoning academia for the life of a farmer. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Suzie | 4/16/2011

    " I loved The English Major. It's a wonderful story about a man in his late 60's facing changes and trying to figure out what to do with the rest of his life. He goes on a road trip across the country that's funny, sad, and inspiring. The whole book is beautifully, beautifully written. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 4/6/2011

    " currently reading this .. references to Michigan,travel,humor and an adventure ..plus book covers by Russell Chatham "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Carol | 2/27/2011

    " A disappointment for a Jim Harrison book. Had a few nuggets of wisdom, but not one of his best books. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michael | 2/11/2011

    " How aptly translated in French "American Odyssey." It just bustles with animals, reminding us that we are just human. The female archetypes remind me, not so much of the Odyssey by Homer, but of the movie, one of my favorites, "Broken Flowers". "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lorraine | 12/3/2010

    " I can appreciate and understand his midlife crisis and I enjoyed seeing him get out of his rut. Of course, what's not to love about an English? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carolyn | 10/15/2010

    " "It used to be Cliff and Vivian and now it isn't." What's a sixty-something man who has lost his wife, his home, his livelihood, and, worst of all, his dog, to do? Road trip! I recommend the ride. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marianne | 9/24/2010

    " Loved this book! Eat Pray Love for the 60 something male. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kim | 9/15/2010

    " At my recommendation, we read this for book club. I happened to see it on the shelf at Border's and picked it up. I liked it a lot. The rest of the gals thought it was just okay. I see you gave it three stars. What didn't you like about it? k "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 'jean | 9/7/2010

    " Liked his travels. Liked some of the fishing descriptions. I wanted more from the book toward the end. "

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About the Author
Author Jim Harrison

Jim Harrison (1937–2016) was the author of over thirty-five books of poetry, nonfiction, and fiction, including Legends of the Fall, The Road Home, The English Major, and The Farmer’s Daughter. His writing appeared in the New Yorker, Esquire, Sports Illustrated, Playboy, and the New York Times. He earned a National Endowment for the Arts grant, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Spirit of the West Award from the Mountains & Plains Booksellers Association. His work has been recognized worldwide and published in twenty-two languages.

About the Narrator

Mark Bramhall has won eighteen AudioFile Earphones Awards and has twice been a finalist for the Audiobook Publishers Association’s prestigious Audie Award for best narration. He has been named by Publishers Weekly and AudioFile magazine among their “Best Voices of the Year” in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013. He is also an award-winning actor whose acting credits include off-Broadway, regional, and many Los Angeles venues as well as television, animation, and feature films. He has taught and directed at the American Academy of Dramatic Art.