A PLACE ON EARTH by Wendell Berry


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Wendell Berry wrote Nathan Coulter in 1960, a short novel to which this is distantly related in that it takes place in the same Kentucky territory while Nathan is off to war (World War II). But by dab, by grab and by juckers this is a derned long book (600 pages) and it might find the reader loafing... Nothing, nothing at all really happens in this the country of silence and slow time. You'll meet Jayber Crow, the barber, and Uncle Stanley, the gravedigger, and Jarrat and Burley, sharecroppers, and Brother Preston, the preacher, but mostly you'll set for a spell with Mat Feltner and his wife Margaret and his daughter-in-law Hannah, who will have her child, after the news comes that their only son Vergil is missing in action. Berry's intention here--through Mat--is to articulate a sanguine philosophy of quiet endurance, of continuity, of renewal (""The earth is the genius of our life. The final questions and their answers lie serenely coupled in it"") but the reader, like Mat, must persevere. Through pages as self-perpetuating as pokeweed, in flatly declarative, descriptive prose.

Pub Date: Sept. 29th, 1967
ISBN: 0003478211
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World