First novel of Jim Harrison I have read for my challenge “Jim Harrison in 12 books”, A good day to die was published in 1973.
He’s in this thirties, divorced, a little girl growing up somewhere and he’s lost himself into alcohol, drugs and snooker nights. His one and only guilty pleasure ? Fishing. The man is passionate, from Alaska to Florida, from the rivers of Idaho to the creeks in Montana, he knows all the places and is witnessing the human impact on nature. He thinks about the trouts and salmons whose journeys are filled with obstacles created by the human, dams.
One night, in a bar, he meets Tim, a Vietnam vet (it’s 1973). Tim is angry, he loves to fight and lives as if every day is his last day on Earth. Tim joined the army. When he came back from its first tour, his girlfriend told him she was pregnant. Tim got so spooked he signed for another tour. He was hurt a couple times and came back with an ugly scar on his face. Little pills are his best friend. The men really hook up and in a drunken and drugged excitement conceive plans. Crazy plans. With Tim’s girlfriend in the backseat, the two friends set out from Florida to the Grand Canyon : their goal ? To blow up the damn dam !
180 pages of hungover, boozing, descents into hell, little rainbow pills – this is what Jim Harrison is giving you here. Jim’s own double shows up here as the narrator : a melancholic fisherman who falls hard in love with Sylvia, Tim’s estranged girlfriend.