Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press

The Ancient Minstrel

by Jim Harrison

A wonderful collection of novellas from beloved, New York Times bestselling writer Jim Harrison, “arguably America’s foremost master of the novella . . . [and] a force of nature on the page.” (Washington Post)

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 272
  • Publication Date March 14, 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-2634-4
  • Dimensions 5" x 5"
  • US List Price $16.00
  • Imprint Grove Hardcover
  • Page Count 272
  • Publication Date March 01, 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-2456-2
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $25.00

About The Book

“Among the most indelible American novelists of the last hundred years . . . [Harrison] remains at the height of his powers.” —Dwight Garner, New York Times on The River Swimmer

New York Times bestselling author Jim Harrison is one of our most beloved and acclaimed writers, adored by both readers and critics. In The Ancient Minstrel, Harrison delivers three novellas that highlight his phenomenal range as a writer, shot through with his trademark wit and keen insight into the human condition.

Harrison has tremendous fun with his own reputation in the title novella, about an aging writer in Montana who spars with his estranged wife, with whom he still shares a home, weathers the slings and arrows of literary success, and tries to cope with the sow he buys on a whim and the unplanned litter of piglets that follow soon after. In Eggs, a Montana woman reminisces about staying in London with her grandparents, and collecting eggs at their country house. Years later, having never had a child, she attempts to do so. And in The Case of the Howling Buddhas, retired Detective Sunderson—a recurring character from Harrison’s New York Times bestseller The Great Leader and The Big Seven—is hired as a private investigator to look into a bizarre cult that achieves satori by howling along with howler monkeys at the zoo.

With profound wisdom and sublime humor, The Ancient Minstrel confirms Jim Harrison as one of the most cherished and important writers at work today.

Tags Literary


Mother and Grandmother had said that my first move in the barnyard as a recently walking toddler was to follow the chickens. I was getting chicken poop on my baby shoes and she tried to stop me but I became hysterical and distraught so she bought tiny rubber boots she would wash off with the hose. The next early stop was my becoming a chicken caretaker. Now at eighty-five I still enjoy tottering out to feed my hens. They pretend like they’re interested in you until you throw their food, the scratch, and then they only chased their meal.  It was the same when I fed the pigs or calves our leftover skim milk, what was left after the cream when we put it through the hand crank separator. The pigs would watch your approach with eager pig smiles and then you’d pour the skim milk into their trough and they’d be all business.

The calves in their pen would mooch up to you, licking your arms with their rough tongues like long lost friends, and then you’d pour the milk and they’d be at it though not nearly as sloppily as the pigs. Calves would at least look up and around during their meal but not pigs. Compared to both the chickens were methodical but diffident eaters with more faith apparently in future eating.