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A Place in Time: Twenty Stories of the Port William Membership Paperback – August 6, 2013


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A Place in Time: Twenty Stories of the Port William Membership + That Distant Land: The Collected Stories (Port William) + Jayber Crow
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Counterpoint; First Trade Paper Edition edition (August 6, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1619021889
  • ISBN-13: 978-1619021884
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,600 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Like the rest of Berry’s fiction, more than 50 years of it, beginning with the novel Nathan Coulter (1960), these 20 stories are about what one of the most developed of the characters, Burley Coulter, calls the membership of Port William, a farming community in Kentucky not far south of the Ohio River. This is the author’s region, too, and decades of his family and their neighboring friends, from the Civil War era to the present, are the models for the people in his fiction. Presented chronologically, these stories span the entire period covered in Berry’s work, from 1864 to nowadays. Readers of Berry’s other fiction will know some of the narrators—humorous, independent, compassionate Burley Coulter; lifelong but by no means unromantic bachelor Jayber Crow; and quietly magisterial Andy Catlett, the most frequent storyteller and Berry’s surrogate. The incidents range from Andy’s great-great-grandmother’s face-off with a renegade soldier to Burley’s eyewitness account of the unwillingly outrageous courtship of Big Ellis to Andy’s young son Marcie’s reaction to the sudden death of Elton Penn, the finest farmer his father ever knew. The language is warm and cool, as called for; consists mostly of one- and two-syllable words; and constitutes a style as clean and distinctive as Hemingway’s, as perspicacious as Mark Twain’s. --Ray Olson --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Wendell Berry is the author of more than fifty books of poetry, fiction, and essays. He was recently awarded the National Humanities Medal, the Cleanth Brooks Medal for Lifetime Achievement by the Fellowship of Southern Writers, and the Louis Bromfield Society Award. For more than forty years he has lived and farmed with his wife, Tanya, in Kentucky.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 44 customer reviews
Interesting writing style and I like his quirky characters.
Marva K. Livengood
If you need a smile and laugh, pick up this book and read one story, you will be laughing out loud before you finish the first page.
Terry S.
His poetry infuses his fiction, creating a beautiful, believeable cast of characters that ring with pathos and humor.
donna O. butler

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Twenty more reasons to give Wendell Berry the Nobel Prize for Literature or at least a National Book Award. Start with story one in which an extraordinary 16-year-old, Rebecca Dawe, faces down the Confederacy, and then discover, one story later, how her dying mother personally saved her husband from conscription into that evil. Berry is the only American writer alive who has the moral depth and grandeur of a Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson. Don't go another day without the companionship of this great novelist, essayist and all-round luminous man of letters.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Betty's lovely Library on December 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Stories written by Wendell Berry bring back memories of a time when life was simple compared to modern days, and when
you reach the age of 77, as I have, you have a tendency to wish for the simpler life. While I do enjoy the niceties such as
electricity, modern transportation, and the ability to turn a dial and warm our home, I believe we were better off not knowing
instantly all the horrors that occur around the world over which we have no control . So I welcome Wendell Berry's books
and hope for many more!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Winterpast Rev on July 1, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have to admit that despite the enormous volume of his writings anything Wendell Berry writes I am pleased. I must share his view of the world: place means everything. This is a great place to begin if this is your first work of his. These short stories are many wonderful things in small bites. Read one a night and sleep well.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mareeba on February 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Aside from his depth of understanding of human beings with humor and compassion,

I am in love with how he blends so much complexity with the natural world. Even

more astounding is how some of his characters, at the end of some of the stories,

very simply accept the losses in their lives and continue to live and

go on in spite of the knowledge of what they have lived through.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By John Willis on July 31, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Its tough to offer an accolade about Wendel Berry not already said. His ongoing stories of the people of Port William lead and sustain us like a fine handcrafted walking stick or leather belt (a key missing prop in one very humorous story). Each word is carefully placed in a stone wall of literary greatness destined to last forever. And then there is the beauty of his writing, returning me to passages to read again, even three times. Berry makes me want to be a good writer and live a life grounded in family and friends.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By William D. Hall on June 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
ONe of Wendell berry's best -- and that is saying something since he is, in my view, one of our best American writers. He captures the essence of time and place.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Pamela B. Foard on November 12, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A wonderful portrayal of the fictional town of Port William, from the horrors and chaos of the Civil War, to gentler times that still had their challenges. These stories open a window in time that is engaging and illuminating, told from various characters' points of view.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael R. Duncan on November 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Meet the people and families that are part of Port William. If you never read Berry's fiction, his stories are a good place to begin. They provide a good introduction to the characters. Berry's stories move you, challenge you, and leave you better for having read them. They will not leave you untouched.
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