“I was first introduced to Mr. Berry through his essay collection What Are People For? and loved him from the moment I read the poem 'Damage,' which is at the beginning of the book. When I read fiction, I tend towards dystopian literature, science fiction, or high fantasy—genres that used to be nearly exclusive to us nerds, geeks, and outcasts but it seems nearly everyone reads today. So when I was told Jayber Crow was basically a novel where only very ordinary things happen, I expected it to be pretty in language but not particularly riveting—one of those books you have to put down many times to read something fun in between. I could not have been more wrong. It took me a long time to understand why I was so drawn in by this rather sleepy tale of a man who seems to do very little. He has a difficult life, but not horribly so. There are no fireworks here, nothing to draw us to him, no spectacle to keep our attention. But he sees a great deal and through thought and labour reveals a series of truths about the world we live in. It's true there are no fireworks, but if you read it, it just might light a fire inside you.”
David, The Book Tavern
From the simple setting of his own barber shop, Jayber Crow, orphan, SEMInarian, and native of Port William, recalls his life and the life of his community as it spends itself in the middle of the twentieth century. Surrounded by his friends and neighbors, he is both participant and witness as the community attempts to transcend its own decline. And meanwhile Jayber learns the art of devotion and that a faithful love is its own reward.
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In the latest installment in Wendell Berry's long story about the citizens of Port William, Kentucky, readers learn of the Coulters' children, of the Feltners and Branches, and how survivors "live right on." "Ignorant boys, killing each other,” is just about all Nathan Coulter would tell his wife about the Battle of Okinawa in the spring of... Read more »
From the simple setting of his own barber shop, Jayber Crow, orphan, SEMInarian, and native of Port William, recalls his life and the life of his community as it spends itself in the middle of the twentieth century. Surrounded by his friends and neighbors, he is both participant and witness as the community attempts to transcend its own decline.... Read more »
Berry opens this latest installment of the Port William series with young Andy Catlett preparing to visit a place he’d been to many times before, though this would be an adventure he will take very seriously. Nine years old, Andy embarks on the trip by bus, alone for the first time. He decides it will be a rite of passage and his first step into... Read more »
In a rural Kentucky river town, “Old Jack” Beechum, a retired farmer, sees his life again through the shades of one burnished day in September 1952. Bringing the earthiness of America’s past to mind, The Memory of Old Jack conveys the truth and integrity of the land and the people who live it. Through the eyes of one man can be seen the values... Read more »
The rhythms of this novel are the rhythms of the land. A Place on Earth resonates with variations played on themes of change; looping transitions from war into peace, winter into spring, browning flood destruction into greening fields, absence into presence, lost into found. This brings the revised 1983 edition back into print, the next book in... Read more »