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Jayber Crow: A Novel (Port William) Kindle Edition
"An almost perfect fiction, a sublime meditation on how irrevocable loss is redeemed through a renewed sense of kinship with the land and the past . . . A beautiful and ennobling book."
"Mr. Berry writes elegantly, effortlessly balancing tragedy and a quiet, sly humor."
"The family are caught on the wheel of nature, which is at once blindingly beautiful and unwittingly cruel . . . The narrative is stunning, the natural scene beautifully evoked."
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.
- ASIN : B003SNIZV2
- Publisher : Counterpoint (August 30, 2001)
- Publication date : August 30, 2001
- Language : English
- File size : 1942 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 383 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #32,375 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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- As soon as I closed the book I literary said out loud, “Beautiful.” That is the best way to describe Jayber Crow. The entire book is beautiful.
- What makes the book beautiful is the way Berry writes. The book is almost a slowly paced, sitting on the porch in rocking chairs conversational style of writing. It felt as if I was sitting listening to my grandfather recount his tales of farming and a previous way of life I’ll never know personally.
For me that is all that needs to be said. I was such a refreshing read that I still think on it, sigh (a good sigh of relief from an exhausting world), then smile. Many authors try to be flashy, exciting, action-packed, sexy, or controversial in their works and that isn’t always a bad thing. Wendell Berry is none of these in Jayber Crow (some may argue controversial in some of his other writings). The best thing I can say is it is a refreshing, relaxing, page turning book. I cannot wait to devour more Wendell Berry. The quote I’ll leave you with is long but is soaked with wisdom and a reflection of Berry at his finest.
“If you could do it, I suppose, it would be a good idea to live your life in a straight line—starting, say, in the Dark Wood of Error, and proceeding by logical steps through Hell and Purgatory and into Heaven. Or you could take the King’s Highway past appropriately named dangers, told, and snares, and finally cross the River of Death and enter the Celestial City. But that is not the way I have one it, so far. I am a pilgrim, but my pilgrimage has been wandering and unmarked. Often what has looked like straight line to me has been a circle or a doubling back. I have been in the Dark Wood of Error any number of times. I have known something of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven, but not always in that order. The names of many snares and dangers have been made known to me, but I have seen them only in looking back. Often I have not known where I was going until I was already there. I have had my share of desires and goals, but my life has come to me or I have gone to it mainly by way of mistake and surprises. Often I have received better than I have deserved. Often my fairest hopes have rested on bad mistakes. I am an ignorant pilgrim, crossing a dark valley. And yet for a long time, looking back, I have been unable to shake off the feeling that I have been led—make of that what you will.” p.133
Top reviews from other countries
Homespun small town philosophy in the mode of Mark Twain, tongue firmly planted in cheek to mask its entirely serious intent. A paean to a world before corporate agribusiness and "progress" did away with agrarian villages; a world where smart phones hadn't been thought of but there were smart people who wouldn't have thought to consider themselves smart. Its a book that functions on a different time scale, one that would not be understood as being "real" time today. Time didn't "stand still"; it simply didn't matter whether it went anywhere or not. It's also an ode to love in its best sense -- the power of love and the tragedy of love.
There are wonderful, celebratory passages such as an account of a "worter dranking party" or a walk through a piece of untouched mature forest called "a nest egg". But there are also deeply insightful accounts of the slow decline and death of a community and a way of life that became the victim of the "Economy".