Brown Dog

brown dog cover image Brown Dog

by Jim Harrison
Short Stories/Anthologies
Grove Press
Hardcover, 448 pages

Summer in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (the “UP”) has been described as “three months of bad sledding." Brown Dog, “BD”, a bawdy, free-spirited, down-on-his-luck, maybe Native American lives there and is the protagonist of six novellas (one newly published here) that Harrison has written over the years. Harrison came from just south of that country and grew up there in Hemingwayesque style. In Harrison’s hands, BD becomes an everyman stuck in the grind, but defiantly alive and profane. His first caper is the discovery, deep in Lake Superior, of the perfectly preserved body of an Indian that he fantasizes might be that the father he never knew. He measures every expense by its equivalent in six-packs, but he spends his life trying in his way to keep himself and his family safe, sheltered, warm and fed. There’s a rough charm to it and it’s not for everybody, but Harrison fans are a special breed.