Monday, December 29, 2008

A Place on Earth


A few days before Christmas I read A Place on Earth by Wendell Berry. Like the other two Berry books I've read (Hannah Coulter and Jayber Crow) this book stands alone very well, but having read those other two books set in Port William, Kentucky I think I enjoyed this one more.

As the title suggests, this novel is more about a place - Port William - than it is about a person, although people certainly are what make the story. Berry gives details of the lives of Uncle Jack, Mat Feltner, Burley Coulter, Gideon Crop, and Ernest Finley, among others. This book reminded me so much of Elizabeth Gaskell's book, Cranford, except that the village is in Kentucky rather than England, and most of the characters we see are old men rather than women. Although there was death - and tragic deaths, at that - it was still a calm and soothing read.

I am amazed at how easy it is to read Wendell Berry's fiction as a series or as a stand-alone novel, and it is enjoyable either way. It's like Anthony Trollope's Barsetshire series, or his Palliser series. One can read one of the books, or all of them (in no particular order, even) and come away satisfied.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Donna Boucher said...

Alright. Alright.

My New Years Resolution is to read a Wendell Berry book.

My favorite blog friends read and love his books.

9:02 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Good girl, Donna!

9:26 AM  
Anonymous amy said...

Sounds lovely! I'm hoping to read all of Wendell Berry's works eventually.

9:44 PM  
Blogger magistramater said...

This is one I have on my shelf but haven't read yet. I could gorge on Wendell Berry. I have to restrain myself. I also have Cranford waiting for me...oh I feel so rich!

WB, Gaskell and Trollope. Oh, Laura, you have such fine tastes.

9:34 AM  

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