Before reading The Farmer's Daughter
, my familiarity with Jim Harrison's work was limited to having seen the popular film version of his novella, Legends of the Fall
. (And, I have to admit, as a heartthrob-infatuated teenager, I watched it an embarrassing number of times.) Whether or not the film accurately portrayed Harrison's written work, it planted in me a seed of stylistic expectation. I hoped for the sensual descriptions of the sweeping American Mid-West, and I wanted the landscape to actively contribute to the telling of the stories. In The Farmer's Daughter
, Harrison not only lives up to those expectations, he exceeds them. Though all three of his novellas are distinct from one another, they are joined by the exploration of isolation, displacement, raw sexuality, human connection and, of course, by the inclusion of Patsy Cline's "The Last Word in Lonesome...
Beyond the Book
The Wicasa Wakan in Lakota Native Culture
In "Brown Dog Redux," the second novella in Jim Harrison's The Farmer's Daughter
, an enigmatic quality surrounds the character of Charles Eats Horses. At Wounded Knee he sits alone in the moonlit cemetery, arms raised to the sky; the next morning he is found unmoving in a trance-like state; and throughout the story his peers carefully avoid eye contact with him. Though little else is given to explain these behaviors, Charles Eats Horses tells Brown Dog that "[The others] think I might be a wicasa wakan
As Harrison describes, a wicasa wakan
is a "medicine man, often a somewhat frightening person like a brujo
in Mexico," and is capable of great powers. In The Anthropological...