FOLLOWING THE HARVEST

Fred R. Harris, Author . Univ. of Oklahoma Press $27.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-8061-3636-3

Remote Vernon, Okla., the setting of Harris's previous two novels (Coyote Revenge ; Easy Pickin's ), is the kickoff point for a journey through many layers of the past in the author's latest. In the summer of 1943, 16-year-old Will Haley leaves his hometown of Vernon to head north with his father's wheat-harvesting crew. Accompanying the pair on what Will regards as his "moveable adventure" are a motley cast of characters, each of whom plays a role in spurring his emotional growth along the way; his heavy-drinking, critical father presents him with his greatest challenge. Will's love of history allows for natural narrative explorations of the places they see, while his letters home to family and friends both document the trip and offer a glimpse of what his life is like at home. Harris, who has a real fondness for period detail, doesn't rush the group's journey, poring over every facet of the countryside and cities through which they pass. This quaint coming-of-age adventure is a pleasantly told tale with an easy feel for regional dialogue, leaving the reader with the sense that Harris—a former senator from Oklahoma—relishes the trip as much as his protagonist. Agent, Elaine Markson. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 09/27/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 282 pages - 978-0-8061-3713-1
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