Nathan Coulter: A Novelby Wendell Berry
This, the first title in the Port William series, introduces the rural section of Kentucky with which novelist Wendell Berry has had a lifelong fascination. When young Nathan loses his grandfather, Berry guides readers through the process of Nathan's grief, endearing the reader to the simple humanity through which Nathan views the world. Echoing Berry's own strongly held beliefs, Nathan tells us that his grandfather's life "couldn't be divided from the days he'd spent at work in his fields." Berry has long been compared to Faulkner for his ability to erect entire communities in his fiction, and his heart and soul have always lived in Port William, Kentucky. In this eloquent novel about duty, community, and a sweeping love of the land, Berry gives readers a classic book that takes them to that storied place.
Meet the Author
An essayist, novelist, and poet, Wendell Berry has been honored with the T. S. Eliot Award, the Aiken Taylor Award for poetry, and the John Hay Award of the Orion Society. Author of more than forty books, he has farmed a hillside in his native Henry County, Kentucky, together with his wife, for almost fifty years.
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I found out about Wendell Barry from an interview I heard on NPR. I was a little confused at first. When I looked up his work the books were presented kind of randomly. They are all about the same imaginary town in Kentucky populated by the same families. After a little research I realized that you can read them that way. They are all stand alone books even though they are all about he same town and people. That said I still read the book he wrote first, first. This is magical storytelling. As you read, disbelief is suspended, this must be an autobiographical story about real people in a real town. If it's not real it sems it should be. I'm sure thousands of people have tried to find the town on maps and google searches. This is first and foremost a book about family and all that means. It's told through the eyes of Nathan Coulter, the younger of two brothers in the family. He tells us about his brother, his parents, his grandparents, his great grandparents, and his friends and neighbors. Through him we get to live with them for a year or so. We don't watch them. We don't look down attthem from afar. We get to live with them. And when it's over you're not ready to leave. Absolutely engrossing. Very early in the process what happens to the people in the book matters because you care about the people in the book. You know them, like them, and want them to be happy. This book seems just as releventt today as when it was written 40 yrs ago. If you like a good story well told you're in for a real treat. Take your time. It will be over too soon.
This was a nice short story and was very descriptive as is his fashion. I did not care for the gratuitous animal abuse throughout the book though. It added nothing to the story or the character development. So if you dont like reading about animals getting killed in various ways, stay away from this. I ended up trying to skip over most of it.