Poet, essayist and fiction writer Wendell Berry has established himself as the consummate writer's writer. His grounding in agrarian themes-both sociologically insightful and intimately personal-harks back to the rich tradition of Faulkner. Over the past four decades, Berry has built an impressive body of novels and short stories devoted to the fictional rural hamlet of Port William, located in his home state of Kentucky. First published in 1974, The Memory of Old Jackrecounts the last days in the life of 92-year-old farmer Jack Beechum in the fall of 1952, as the self-sufficient man of the soil contemplates both his heartaches and triumphs. Veteran narrator Paul Michael brings Jack's meandering journey between the present and past into crystal-clear focus. His portrayal of the emotionally and sexually barren terrain of Jack's relationship with his wife, Ruth, evokes especially powerful angst concerning the disconnect between dutiful obligation and romantic passion. This audiobook release offers an excellent venue for new audiences to discover Berry, a seminal literary figure whose gifted storytelling challenges, provokes, inspires and affirms. A Counterpoint Press paperback. (May)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
The Memory of Old Jackby Wendell Berry
In a rural Kentucky river town, "Old Jack" Beechum, a retired farmer, sees his life again through the sades of one burnished day in September 1952. Bringing the earthiness of America's past to mind, The Memory of Old Jack conveys the truth and integrity of the land and the people who live from it. Through the eyes of one man can be seen the values Americans strive to recapture as we arrive at the next century.
"Few novelists treat both their characters and their readers with the kind of respect that Wendell Berry displays in this deeply moving account . . . The Memory of Old Jack is a slab of rich Americana." The New York Times Book Review
Meet the Author
Wendell Berry is the author of fifty books of poetry, fiction, and essays. He was recently awarded the Cleanth Brooks Medal for Lifetime Achievement by the Fellowship of Southern Writers and the Louis Bromfield Society Award. For over forty years he has lived and farmed with his wife, Tanya, in Kentucky.
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I have read and reread this book and given copies to friends. This book never fails to move me--Jack's recollections of his life are inticrate but at the same time simple and familiar. The Memory of Old Jack is very 'true' in its portrayal of humanity.
This little gem is a powerful poem in novel form. For the protagonist, close to death, the past is more present than the present. What might be perceived as dementia by the young, the uncaring, or the uprooted, is a testament to a way of life that is held precious by those who know 'Old Jack', and - at the end - held precious by the perceptive and mature reader. This is a book about America, the human mind, and men and women, seen through the lens of rural life.
I don't recall the last time I have read a book so boring! The only good point of this book is the developing identity of the the main character, Old Jack. The Color Purple has better character developments and more of a plot, get that instead.