I will read anything that Jim Harrison writes. Countless others have told me the same thing, and yet he still feels largely undiscovered. This slim volume of two novellas is a perfect plane ride’s entertainment that I hope will bring many into the ranks of initiated fans. Harrison’s writing is full of the messy contradictions of life. It is raunchy, uninhibited, and exquisitely sensitive. Nature and humanity, youth and age, love and appetite and their inextricable tensions are both mundane and transporting. Harrison is an American classic who deserves his place alongside Hemingway and Faulkner.
— Sara, Atlanta
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.