Revenge: A Novella by Jim Harrison

I finished Jim Harrison’s Revenge last night. A great read. I wish I had read this novella long ago. I am certain that I will try other works he’s written. I have two more novellas in this book, and if I like them, I’ll move on to his novels.

Revenge has a gripping opening scene, and Harrison, whom I would describe as a master storyteller, primarily uses narrative to move the story along. Jonathan Miles, in a review of Harrison’s writing, says Harrison possesses a “wounded narrative voice.” I think that is a fair description of Harrison’s technique. (You can read Miles interview here: Miles says Harrison is a man who been prowling the literary edges for four decades.

Here are some quotes from Revenge that I thought might be food for thought or sparks for my own writing.

“He does read her the poem and her feminine capacity for romanticism for a moment approaches his own and they are suffused in a love trance, a state that so ineluctably peels back the senses making them fresh again whatever ages the lovers might be . . . the certainly accidental cohesion of two souls and bodies, often resulting in terror and unhappiness because so much previously unknown energy is released. (28)

“He was in love and he called his lover the moment he awoke, a gesture usually associated with the young or dopey, or jumping across two decades, to those who fall in love strongly in their late thirties or early forties.” (15)

“The two attracted far more attention than they would have thought possible . . . she was the vortex of attention nearly anywhere.” (29)

“Life was better if you were no one’s victim” (41)
“Somebody had stolen his soul, and he meant to have it back” (58)

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