the next good book

Hannah Coulter

By Wendell Berry


186 pages

Hannah Coulter by Wendell BarryWhat’s it about? Hannah Coulter is a twice widowed woman in her later years.  She tells the story of her life through the lens of her age.  She ruminates on loss, raising a family, and how her rural Kentucky community has changed over the years. What did it make me think about? This was a book about being of a particular time and place.  How rooted people used to be in the actual land that supported them.  It was a story of a time when people lived and died in one community.  It also describes some of the reasons we moved away from that way of life, and some of the costs of that move. Should I read it? This was such an old fashioned book and quite different than anything I have picked up in awhile. It is a part of a series of books that Wendell Berry wrote about the town of Port William, Kentucky. Hannah Coulter’s remembrances of rural Kentucky were insightful, if at times slightlymoralistic.    When looking for a quote I had lots of pages earmarked with interesting thoughts.I enjoyed this book- but can’t say I loved it. Quote- “I have this love for Mattie.  It was formed in me as he himself was formed.  It has his shape, you might say.  He fits it.  He fits into it as he fits into his clothes.  He will always fit into it.  When he gets out of the car and I meet him and hug him, there he is, him himself, something of my own forever, and my love for him goes all around him just sit did when he was a baby and a little boy and a young man grown. ​He fits my love, but he no longer fits the place or our life or the knowledge of anything here.  Since a long time ago, when he comes back he has come as a stranger.”

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