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The Harris Men

The Harris Men

RM Johnson's extraordinary debut is a stirring family portrait that resonates with emotion and wit, as a father faces death -- and the three sons he abandoned so many years before.
"Mr. Harris, I'm sorry, but you have cancer." Although devastated to learn he has just one year to live, fifty-five-year-old Julius Harris has always known that the day would come when he would pay for walking out on his wife and three children twenty years earlier. Now, with a sudden and passionate determination to make his family whole again, Julius begins trying to find a way back to his sons.
Caleb, the youngest, struggling to support a son and make his way in a relentless world, couldn't care less about his own absentee father. Middle son Marcus can't abide even his father's memory, which gets in the way of his committing to the one woman who has turned his life around. And Austin, Julius' eldest child, so adores what he remembers of his father that he's following in his footsteps, abandoning his wife and children just as Julius had done.
Inspired by RM Johnson's own fragile family history, The Harris Men is his poignant exploration of the increasing problem of absentee fathers -- and of the compromises made by the families they leave behind. As the Harris men grapple with their fears and their choices, Johnson gets to the very heart of what it means to be a man.
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  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 336 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743400596 | 
  • April 2000
List Price $20.99
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One
"Mr. Harris, I'm sorry, but you have cancer," the thin, white-haired doctor had told him. The man said it without emotion, without sympathy, without the slightest look of sadness in his eyes. Julius had to let it sink in a moment and decide whether his doctor was telling him the truth or not. He remembered sitting in the chair, stone-faced, unable to move.
Julius Harris shook the old thought out of his head, knowing he shouldn't dwell on the past. He pushed open the bathroom door, and there, sitting in the middle of the antiseptic room, was the toilet. He walked cautiously up to it as though it might snap at him like a small... see more

About the Author

RM Johnson
Photograph by Dina Perez

RM Johnson

R.M. Johnson is the author of nine novels, including bestsellers The Harris Family and The Million Dollar Divorce. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Chicago State University. He currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

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