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Download The River Swimmer: Novellas Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The River Swimmer: Novellas 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 (294 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jim Harrison Narrator: Traber Burns Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2013 ISBN: 9781470838584
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Jim Harrison is one of America’s most beloved and critically acclaimed authors, and this collection of novellas is Harrison at his most memorable—a brilliant rendering of two men striving to find their way in the world, written with freshness, abundant wit, and profound humanity.

In “The Land of Unlikeness,” sixty-year-old art history academic Clive—a failed artist, divorced and grappling with the vagaries of his declining years—reluctantly returns to his family’s Michigan farmhouse to visit his aging mother. The return to familiar territory triggers a jolt of renewal—of ardor for his high school love, of his relationship with his estranged daughter, and of his own lost love of painting. In the title story, “The River Swimmer,” Harrison ventures into the magical as an Upper Peninsula farm boy is irresistibly drawn to the water as an escape and sees otherworldly creatures there. Faced with the injustice and pressure of coming of age, he takes to the river and follows its siren song all the way across Lake Michigan.

The River Swimmer is a striking portrait of two richly drawn, profoundly human characters and an exceptional reminder of why Jim Harrison is one of the most cherished and important writers at work today.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “One of America’s great literary treasures, Harrison delivers not one but two works: ‘The Land of Unlikeness,’ in which a washed-up sixty-year-old academic returns to his Michigan home for renewal, and [‘The River Swimmer’], in which an Upper Peninsula farm boy sees ghostly creatures in the waters of the nearby lake. Magic realism à la Harrison?”

    Library Journal

  • “Mr. Harrison’s new book, The River Swimmer . . . contains some of the best writing of his career…He is among the most indelible American novelists of the last hundred years…If The River Swimmer is any indication, he remains at the height of his powers.”

    New York Times

  • “The two novellas that constitute Harrison’s fine new collection are, as usual, quite different in scope and content… each striking in their own ways, rich and satisfying.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Though these two novellas feel slight in comparison with the best of the prolific author’s novels, the ways in which they complement and contrast with each other attest to his range…Everyday epiphanies from a major author.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Fans (and others) will delight in the two novellas here, which effectively bookend human life…There’s not a misstep in these thoughtful, beautifully crafted stories. Highly recommended.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “Trenchant and visionary…Harrison is a writer of the body, which he celebrates as the ordinary, essential, and wondrous instrument by which we measure the world. Without it, there is no philosophy. And with it, of course, philosophy can be a rocky test…I could feel Jim Harrison grinning…in his glorious novella The River Swimmer.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “You can’t escape your true nature, Jim Harrison’s two new novellas assert…Here, he’s achieved a mood that approximates in modern terms the tranquility of Shakespeare’s late romances. The existential uncertainties that always animate Harrison’s fiction are not so much resolved as accepted for what they are: the basic fabric of existence, from which we pluck as much happiness as we can.”

    Washington Post

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tom Tabatowski | 2/20/2014

    " There's so much more to like about Harrison than to dislike. To like: he writes about Northern Michigan; he always weaves bird watching and long, solitary walks in the deep woods into his works; he is a "foodie" and easily integrates that; his stories take unexpected turns that feel natural and normal; he doesn't end his tales at the climax, if there even is a climax, but often at an average stop in the road and, maybe most astonishingly, he is 75 and still so good. To dislike: he's always seems to come up short with his female characters and at times his phrasing seems forced. All of the above can be found in his two latest coming-of-age novellas, the first about a 60 year old art dealer and the latter about a 17 year old water baby. Harrison, who is perhaps more known in France than at home, is a direct descendant of Hemingway, Faulkner and Melville and we are lucky to still have him around. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 {dvc} | 2/11/2014

    " Classic Harrison. The title novella is a pretty little magically realistic riff, indicating, to me at least, that he still has plenty left in the tank. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marsha | 2/9/2014

    " Taking my time finishing this book because the language is so special, typical of Jim Harrison I think. "Tooth told him that a northern Michigan writer friendly with the tribe and author of somber works was known as One Who Goes into the Dark a Long Ways and We Hope He Comes Back." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marc | 2/7/2014

    " Harrison is one of the best. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John P. | 1/28/2014

    " Vintage Harrison. Just weird enough. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tanya | 1/14/2014

    " Despite having probably a half-dozen of his books on my shelf at my family's recommendation, I've never read Harrison until now. And now I don't know if I can stop. It's subtle and striking and rustic and rich. It doesn't hurt that he writes his way around a kitchen as well. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Angie | 12/25/2013

    " I'm not equipped to describe how I feel about Harrison. Suffice to say that I am always sad to finish his books. This one is no exception- beautifully written, especially the first novella. New characters in these two, too, although I happily see Brown Dog everywhere. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Merri Schmauss wurtz | 12/11/2013

    " Love everything this man writes! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Martin Cerjan | 11/29/2013

    " Excellent prose; strong stories. Just a pleasure to read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tim Weed | 11/27/2013

    " Not Harrison's best, I'm afraid. He's one of my favorite writers, so I don't want to say much more than that. Worth a read, but only if you insist, and only after you've read everything else he's written. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Stacy Bearse | 11/20/2013

    " I normally enjoy the works of Jim Harrison, but these two novellas left me scratching my head. I appreciate the quality of this writing, but perhaps my mood this weekend didn't give me patience to abide with the abstract nature of touchy-feely fiction. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patricia Geller | 11/11/2013

    " Liked both novellas although they are very different. Jim Harrison is a terrific writer so it is less about the plot then his use of language. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pablo | 11/7/2013

    " It's Jim Harrison. Is there really anything else that needs to be said? This man cannot write a less than stellar book. Thoroughly enjoyed it! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Uwe Hook | 9/21/2013

    " One of the novellas was real and made compelling reading, The Land of Unlikeness. However the River Swimmer didn't make any sense to me. Too much fantasy for my taste. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Janet | 8/29/2013

    " Both these novellas felt like they started in the middle. Except for the frequently observed fact that men are always horny, I did not learn much from these two stories. Much disappointment from the author who wrote Legends of the Fall. No character development and really unbelievable plot lines. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cheri | 6/29/2013

    " It's book is actually two 'novellas'. Both were fascinating and well-written. I tried to,find some connection between the two, but I'm not a deep reader.....I certainly enjoyed this book! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Susan | 6/10/2013

    " Harrison at his best. Rich characters rendered in the North Michigan landscape. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lori (Hellian) | 4/28/2013

    " When I read Jim I feel like I'm with family, what you do is not important, it's living life in the contents of your consciousness. I am mellow and comfortable, deeply relating to the narration. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 James Rose | 3/27/2013

    " My review upcoming in the NY Journal of Books "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jill Olswanger | 3/20/2013

    " I am a long time avid fan of Jim Harrison and always happy to read his work. Not sorry I read it, but unless you, too, are an old fan, just read Legends of the Fall- or re-read it. "

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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

Traber Burns worked for thirty-five years in regional theater, including the New York, Oregon, and Alabama Shakespeare festivals. He also spent five years in Los Angeles appearing in many television productions and commercials, including Lost, Close to Home, Without a Trace, Boston Legal, Grey’s Anatomy, Cold Case, Gilmore Girls, and others.