Book Review: The Ancient Minstrel, by Jim Harrison

At only a hundred pages, the title track is part of a 255-page trilogy of three short stories by Harrison. In addition to his nearly forty works of prose and poetry, screen plays generated significant (and apparently easily written) financial success. This work is either a memoir, or a creative version of one, as noted in Harrison's author notes. I read it twice and still am not sure I understand it as the story deals with his difficulty in taking part in public "reading" events, a rambling sub-tale of Darling, his pet pig and her offspring, numerous -seemingly endless - international trips, as well as usage of an impressive number of impressive descriptive words that sent me to the dictionary numerous times. In one particular meaningful sentence (page 69), Harrison writes about glimpsing a meaning of something "....reality can break open and reveal its essence, like bending linoleum until it breaks, and you saw the black fiber underlying it."

Austin, March 31, 2023



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