From one of America's most versatile and celebrated writers, Legends of the Fall is Jim Harrison's classic trilogy of epic novellas.
The publication of this magnificent trilogy of short novels - Legends of the Fall, Revenge, and The Man Who Gave Up His Name - confirmed Jim Harrison's reputation as one of the finest American writers of his generation. These absorbing novellas explore the theme of revenge and the actions to which people resort when their lives or goals are threatened, adding up to an extraordinary vision of the twentieth-century man.
Set in the Rocky Mountains, Legends of the Fall is the epic tale of three brothers and their lives of passion, madness, exploration, and danger at the beginning of World War I. In Revenge, love causes the course of a man's life to be savagely and irrevocably altered. And in The Man Who Gave Up His Name, a man named Nordstrom is unable to relinquish his consuming obsessions with women, dancing, and food.
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Stories of Love, Violence and Death
This is the first Jim Harrison, I read or listened to. His prose and style are impeccable and a perfect fit to the rough and sometimes violent content. Three relatively short novellas are put together in this book:
1.“Legend of the Fall” is probably best known for the movie of the same title. The novella is a concise version of a family saga. Three brothers grow up on the horse breeding farm of their successful father. The three brothers are close, but completely different in their character. The oldest one is conservative and ambitious with some management skills. The second one is a wild, adventurous boy with a deep love for nature. The youngest one is good natured, full of optimism and very talented and gifted. World-War I brings this family idyll to a sudden end. Death, violence and jealousy leave their mark on the family and it becomes increasingly difficult to adjust to the changed world after the war.
2.“Revenge” is a story of blind, passionate love, the betrayal of friendship and cruel and violent revenge. The wife of a drug lord starts an affair with a close friend of her husband. The blind passion of the two lovers leads to disaster and destroys the life of all involved.
3.“The man who gave up his name” tells the story of Nordstrom, a man whose life is ruined by his obsession with women, dancing and food.
The common denominator of the three stories is the raw passion of people, who cannot help but respond with violence to a crisis. They are aware of the pending disaster, but their emotions and feelings do not leave them a choice.
To me some of this appeared to be exaggerated and unreal, but the story telling in itself was good enough to make me curious to read some more of Jim Harrison.