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The English Major by Jim Harrison
The English Major tells the story of Cliff, a 60-year-old former English teacher who has retired to a farm in Michigan. It's a lonely life with just his faithful dog and his unhappy wife. His dog dies and his wife decides her happiness resides with a wealthy ex-classmate and she leaves Cliff and sells the farm out from underneath him. Cliff finds an old jigsaw puzzle of the United States that he used to put together with his younger brother who suffered from Downs Syndrome. Cliff decides to set out for a trip across the country, tossing out a piece of puzzle as he crosses each state's border. Along the way he spends time with an ex-student who throws herself at him and makes his way to his son's place in San Francisco. Jim Harrison's novel has received positive reviews with the Rocky Mountain News saying, "Overall, The English Major is a rollicking page-turner, full of Harrison's biting humor and set against a rugged and beautiful landscape."