Fidelity: Five Stories

( 4 )


"Berry richly evokes Port William's farmlands and hamlets, and his characters are fiercely individual, yet mutually protective in everything they do. . . . His sentences are exquisitely constructed, suggesting the cyclic rhythms of his agrarian world."—New York Times Book Review.

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"Berry richly evokes Port William's farmlands and hamlets, and his characters are fiercely individual, yet mutually protective in everything they do. . . . His sentences are exquisitely constructed, suggesting the cyclic rhythms of his agrarian world."—New York Times Book Review.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this powerful new collection, the noted poet, essayist and fiction writer returns to Port William, Ky., the fictional town introduced in The Wild Birds. Berry's narrator roams easily through the town's past 100 years, remarking early in the book that even the unknown past is present in us, its silence as persistent as a ringing in the ears. Birth, life, death and the primary institutions of family and community are the axes on which the stories turn. Their plots are as slender as fence posts: a soldier walks home at war's end; a young woman with a mild fever ponders her first years of marriage; a taciturn farmer takes his moribund father out of a hospital's intensive care unit so the old man can die with dignity. But Berry invests them with intense feeling, using the plain language of a largely oral culture, building metaphors and similes that have the clear ring of folk wisdom. His ground's-eye view of events can be chilling, as when he sums up World War II as a great tearing apart. If the stories seem somber in their emphasis on loss, the pains are clearly leavened by the comforts of community and connectedness that a small town can provide. An excellent introduction to one of America's finest prose writers. (Oct.)
Library Journal
In these five interrelated stories, Berry focuses once again on the fictional town of Port William and on characters like Andrew Catlett, the central figure of his novel The Remembering ( LJ 11/15/88). Each story dramatizes an individual crisis but also emphasizes an abiding sense of community and the simple but solid agrarian values that sustain it. In ``Pray Without Ceasing,'' for example, these values prevail over a primitive desire for vengeance. In ``Making It Home,'' they provide renewed strength for a soldier as he returns from the carnage of war. In ``A Jonquil for Mary Penn,'' a young bride from a higher social class accommodates herself to these values and finds solace in them. Although the title story is sometimes melodramatic and preachy, Berry's tales are usually engaging and display a quiet but powerful dignity.--Albert E. Wilhelm, Tennessee Technological Univ., Cookeville
Noel Perrin
The rarest (and highest) of literary classes consists of that small group of authors who are absolutely inimitable....One of the half-dozen living American authors who belong in this class is Wendell Berry....[this] whole book is vintage Berry. -- Los Angeles Times Book Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679748311
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/28/1993
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 221,835
  • Product dimensions: 5.22 (w) x 7.99 (h) x 0.57 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Pray Without Ceasing 3
2 A Jonquil for Mary Penn 61
3 Making It Home 83
4 Fidelity 107
5 Are You All Right? 191
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2012

    Highly recommended

    One of my favorite Wendell Berry books - a great lead in to the series of characters and places. Every book Berry has written, fiction, non-fiction, petry, and prose is a gem.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2000

    Celebrating the essential goodness of man

    In a quintet of vignettes from Berry's make-believe Kentucky world, we are asked to see and understand the wonder and joy of common people performing acts of devotion, kindness and loving service. In a world of increasing distance and alienation, Wendell Berry celebrates a return to a culture founded on interpersonal sensitivity and concern and communal responsibility. His deeply held Christian ethic and practical application of moral principles are to be applauded. One of my favorite books and a frequent gift to friends who need to be uplifted or encouraged in their struggles and trials.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2009

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    Posted August 19, 2010

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