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Jayber Crow is another story of the Port William membership, the community whose life--and lives--Berry has unfurled over the course of a half dozen novels. Jayber himself is an orphan, lately returned to the town. And his status as barber and bachelor places him simultaneously at its center and on its margins. A born observer, he hears much, watches carefully, and spends 50 years learning its citizens by heart.
They were rememberers, carrying in their living thoughts all the history that such places as Port William ever have. I listened to them with all my ears, and have tried to remember what they said, though from remembering what I remember I know that much is lost. Things went to the grave with them that will never be known again.Jayber tells the town's stories tenderly. Gently elegiac, the novel charts the tension between an urge to isolation and an impulse to connectivity, writ both small and large. As the 20th century moves inexorably forward, swallowing in great mechanized gulps rural towns governed by agricultural rhythms, Port William turns in upon itself. And as Jayber admits quietly, "Once a fabric is torn, it is apt to keep tearing. It was coming apart. The old integrity had been broken." Integrity, both whole and shattered, is key to the stories of Burley Coulter, Cecelia Overhold, Troy Chatham, and above all, Athey Keith and his daughter Mattie, to whom Jayber pledges his undying and unrequited love.
Berry's prose, so carefully tuned that you never know it is there, carries us into the very heart of the land itself; his exquisitely constructed sentences suggesting the cyclic rhythms of his agrarian world. Jayber Crow resonates with variations played on themes of change, looping transitions from war into peace, winter into spring, browning flood destruction into greening fields, absence into presence, lost into found. --Kelly Flynn --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
One of the best books I have ever read. It is a holy book with a main character who learns the most important of lessons: choosing love over hate. Read morePublished 3 days ago by agsiwg
Having read a number of Wendell Berry's books, I anticipated another very well written Port William novel. Read morePublished 15 days ago by Amazon Customer
A terrific book. Great story line and makes one reflect on his life.Published 23 days ago by N J DenOuden
Beautifully written story takes you through the life of one of Port Williams peoplePublished 1 month ago by eva mauer
Incredible novel that left me thinking for quite some time about the cultural shifts that resulted from industrialization, the true nature of love and fidelity, and what a life... Read morePublished 1 month ago by SpikeLived