Author Jim Harrison has won international acclaim for his masterful body of work, including over thirty books of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. In his most original work to date, Harrison delivers an enthralling, witty, and expertly crafted novel following one man’s hunt for an elusive cult leader, dubbed the Great Leader.
On the verge of retirement, Detective Sunderson begins to investigate a hedonistic cult, which has set up camp near his home in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. At first, the self-declared Great Leader seems merely a harmless oddball, but as Sunderson and his sixteen-year-old sidekick dig deeper, they find him more intelligent and sinister than they realized. Recently divorced and frequently pickled in alcohol, Sunderson tracks his quarry from the woods of Michigan to a town in Arizona, filled with criminal border-crossers, and on to Nebraska, where the Great Leader’s most recent recruits have gathered to glorify his questionable religion. But Sunderson’s demons are also in pursuit of him.
Rich with character and humor, The Great Leader is at once a gripping excursion through America’s landscapes and the poignant story of a man grappling with age, lost love, and his own darker nature.
©2011 Jim Harrison (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“A classic Harrison novel, complete with humorous and introspective characters.” (Library Journal)
Tell us about yourself! Just a cynical and tired, retired English professor.
Jim Harrison is one of the few contemporary writers who speaks (through all his first person narrators) as a reasonable soul who has found in this world of madness and despair the real meaning of living. His love of sex, brook trout, and the richness of every aspect of life comes to him because they are what they are and he is what he is, whether he's a State Police Detective (ret.) or a happy wanderer with a strangely exciting teen-age girl passenger : (English Major).
. I would love nothing better in life than to spend three months (brook trout season) with this richly articulate man whose found himself.
I teach. I Listen. I trust your judgment as a fellow listener.
Jim Harrison sneaks into the headspace of middle-aged men whose greatest fears are diminishing libido, loss of purpose, and the death of adventure in their lives. He's is so good at this that readers/listeners of both genders become spectators in the secret rituals of the society of men.
The Great Leader: A faux Mystery messes with our heads. It asks us to make value judgements about his main character, a washed up detective whose last case nags at him like his fears of losing his libido. We don't know whether to cheer for our hero or curse him for his behaviors. But, what we do know is that our personal tolerance for edgy behavior and thinking is questioned by the actions of the protagonist.
You should listen to this book, if nothing else than to test your own values about ethics, sexuality, and justice. Don't be afraid to challenge your core beliefs with this excellent mystery.
Yes. Harrison writes stories with interesting characters, and wonderful descriptive prose. He is also thought provoking. I want to read "Playing Indian" now, which is referred to many times in "The Great Leader".
I love Jim Harrison's work. His novellas (especially Revenge and Legends of the Fall) are some of the best things I have ever read. The latter book packs three generations of action into about 150 pages. His writing is consistently strong and he moves the story forward with every sentence. But not in this book. The Great Leader struck me as a little more than a rumination on growing old and it wore me out in about two chapters. What action there is comes between large chunks of the main character talking to himself. The narrator did a workmanlike job but there was not a lot to work with here.
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