Sunday, April 12, 2020

My Favorite Book, Part 22.

Wendell Berry is, and always has been, more committed to doing things right than in doing them quickly, or efficiently. If he is still farming in Kentucky at his advanced age, he will be farming with horses, as he has done throughout his life.
And when he writes, he writes in longhand, with a pencil.
He writes poetry. He writes insightful and challenging essays. And he writes fiction. All of it is worth reading. Not quickly, but attentively, and thoughtfully.
Most of his fiction is about a made-up, but true, place called Port William, Kentucky. It is a farming community; a close-knit agglomeration of people, all with stories worth hearing. As much as his novels and stories are about people, they are about place, and how people and places are connected, and how those connections make our lives, and create the communities and world we live in.
A Place on Earth is but one of many novels about Port William, this one set during World War Two. In its pages, you meet—more than meet, become acquainted with—many of the families and individuals of Port William of that day; families and people whose pasts and futures populate other Port William novels.
There is one passage in A Place on Earth that seems to me to speak of the curious times we are living in today: “The life of the house will change, accommodate itself to the needs of the new life, and then in a few days the new will be learned, what once was unexpected will become a habit—and they will go on as before.”


  1. Well said. I haven’t read him yet, but shall.
    Stay well.