Friday, April 03, 2009


Wendell Berry's novel, Remembering is another story that features Andy Catlett as the main character.

As I read this book I wondered if Andy Catlett is the character most like the real-life Wendell Berry. Many of the thoughts and emotions Andy voices in this novel seem much too real to be figments of Berry's imagination.

Although Andy is a middle-aged man, this book has many characteristics of a "coming-of-age" story. Over a space of several days or weeks Andy figures out: what's important, what matters to him; where he belongs; what he must do.

Within the story is the battle of family farms against big agriculture. Andy (and Berry) draws a distinction between agriculture as a business and agriculture as farming. Agriculture as a business uses (to the point of using up) the land, the tools, the people. Agriculture as farming offers a way of life that sustains and gives purpose.

It's a melancholy story, but with redemption in the end. And Andy is still my favorite character in Wendell Berry's fiction.



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