Hannah Coulter

Books and Bibles, Fiction

HANNAH COULTER

Author WENDELL BERRY

Publisher SHOEMAKER & HOARD

ISBN 1-59376-078-7

Wendell Berry is one of the great American voices.  There are a number of books containing his essays, and also novels, like this one, concerning the members of the fictitious rural community of Port William.  There are at least four novels in this series and this is the only one which is written through the eyes of a woman in that community.  She is writing at the end of her life, her days have passed, her first husband never returned from the second world war.  Missing believed killed is the way it was put.  She married again, this time a young man named Nathan who was of farming stock himself and had returned from the Pacific theatre of the war, particularly Okinawa about which he never spoke to anyone.  So, the story, in the usual Wendell Berry style, bears the reader along through the decades lived through the 1930’s into the early part of the 21st Century.  The changes taking place in the community, the society and the country.  Here are some strong and steady personalities living their lives, raising their families doggedly and happily against the increasing background of the mechanisation and callousness of modernist society.  This author does not deal in a great plot theme and there are no super hero’s in the sense that so many are idolising today.  Here is a story about real hero’s the disappearing heart of American society, and, come to that, any country where there has been a tradition of private land owners and hard working farming families.  Yes, the book is thoroughly old fashioned.  It has a taste, a taste of a life dying away, the greed that has swallowed up the multitude of the young, the worship of education that has captured the hearts of so many is exposed against the background of lives fulfilled in their self giving service to one another in the membership of the community.  How little such a life is known by those who live in the cities of our world.  Read and remember.  If you read novels of worth, those of Wendell Berry should take a place of priority if you seek that which has meaning for those living in the rush of a mad world.

Last modified: December 8, 2016

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