A Place on Earth

146155Some time over the past two or three years, without me realizing it was happening, Wendell Berry has become my favourite writer.

Marci and I are currently reading his novel ‘A Place on Earth‘, which, like most of his fiction, is set in the farming community of Port William, Kentucky. Here’s how it’s described on Amazon:

Part ribald farce, part lyrical contemplation, Wendell Berry’s novel is the story of a place-Port William, Kentucky-the farm lands and forests that surround it, and the river that runs nearby. 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.

And here’s an excerpt from a customer review on Amazon:

Wendell Berry’s wonderful and beautifully written novel brings us back to a beautiful place on earth, Port William. The time is 1945, and the backdrop is the ending of World War II, and how is affects the lives of the farmers and people of this little and beloved town. Here we see our friends from Berry’s other novels about Port William: Jayber Crow, Hannah Coulter, Old Jack, Burley, Mat, and others we have come to love. We feel the poignancy and despair: we see the inadequacy of platitudes in the face of loss and grief. We also meet new characters whose lives are also incised by tragedy, such as a terrible flood. Through this, though, Berry also gives us hope, and at times, even humor, such as through the character of Uncle Stanley. We live with these character and we love them, and Berry’s writing, simple and elegant, brings us closer to the experience of what it is to be human.

Yes, I agree. And I have one thing to add. Berry is a poet, and he writes like a poet. His sentences are works of art. This is not a book to be read quickly; it needs to be savoured slowly, and preferably read out loud.

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About Tim Chesterton

Family man, pastor, storyteller, musician, songwriter. E-mail me at timchesterton at outlook dot com
This entry was posted in authors, Books, Wendell Berry. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to A Place on Earth

  1. Andrew H. says:

    I also love Wendell Berry, and have not read any of his books for a while. I will try and get around to this one.

    One of my favorites is “A Timbered Choir,” which is a collection of poems that he wrote about the Sabbath, sometime in the late 90’s.

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