THE LOST UPLAND by W.S. Merwin

THE LOST UPLAND

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Poet Merwin's long familiarity with rural southwestern France provides him with his subject here--for three slow, vagrant, and accomplished prose portraits. The first, ``Foie Gras,'' concerns a nobleman, the Comte d'Allers, known otherwise as Fatty, who's been down on his luck long enough to have developed a system for cadging, shoplifting, and deadbeating that has become the fabric of local legend. The second piece, ``Shepherds,'' is the most personal and the best: the pace of life and knowledge in the Languedoc, the mystery of one's neighbors, the feel of the land, the crops, the animals. ``Blackbird'' seems the most conventionally like fiction- -the portrait of an aging wine-dealer who's looking for someone to take over his business; Merwin here most memorably reproduces the laconic courtesy and pointedness of local speech. All three pieces require patience from the reader, and the rewards are less narrative than stylistic: Merwin remains the finest prose writer of American poets, with a special talent for describing the spatial: ``As we stood looking at it, to the east, the tracks out of sight below us began to ring faintly in our ears, and then the train appeared around a rise in the causse that did not look like anything at all but clearly the rest of the world was back there.''

Pub Date: March 2nd, 1992
ISBN: 0-679-40526-7
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 1992




MORE BY W.S. MERWIN

NonfictionSUMMER DOORWAYS by W.S. Merwin
by W.S. Merwin
NonfictionTHE ENDS OF THE EARTH by W.S. Merwin
by W.S. Merwin
AdultPURGATORIO by Dante Alighieri
by Dante Alighieri