by Wendell Berry
In his latest story about the fictional town of Port William, Kentucky, Berry introduces readers to Jayber Crow, his love for his community, and his abiding and unrequited love for one special woman.
Jayber Crow, born in Goforth, Kentucky, orphaned at age ten, began his search as a "pre-ministerial student" at Pigeonville College. There, freedom met with new burdens and a young man needed more than a mirror to find himself. But the beginning of that finding was a short conversation with "Old Grit," his profound professor of New Testament Greek.
"You have been given questions to which you cannot be "given" answers. You will have to live them out--perhaps a little at a time."
"And how long is that going to take?"
"I don't know. As long as you live, perhaps."
"That could be a long time."
"I will tell you a further mystery," he said. "It may take longer."
Eventually, after the flood of 1937, Jayber becomes the barber of the small community of Port William, Kentucky. From behind that barber chair he lives out the questions that drove him from seminary and begins to accept the gifts of community that enclose his answers. The chair gives him a perfect perch from which to listen, to talk, and to see, as life spends itself all around. In this novel full of remarkable characters, he tells his story that becomes the story of his town and its transcendent membership.
About the Author:
Wendell Berry is the author of fifty books of poetry, fiction, and essays. He was recently awarded the Cleanth Brooks Medal for Lifetime Achievement by the Fellowship of Southern Writers and the Louis Bromfield Society Award. For over forty years he has lived and farmed with his wife, Tanya, in Kentucky.
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.