That Distant Land collects 23 stories, interlinked with each other and with the other published "Port William" novels. The stories, arranged in their fictional chronology (from 1888 to almost the present day), become one sustained work, a new novel that spans the entire life and time involved. The range of this book is extraordinary - it offers rest for the weary, hope for the beleaguered, and strength for everyone else.
©2010 Wendell Berry (P)2010 christianaudio.com
Berry is a national treasure and a genius with words, and his short stories are particularly suited for audio. The narrator has a voice as smooth as the finest Kentucky whiskey and as varied as a mocking bird. It is impossible to overrate this book.
Loved this book . I listened to several more of Wendell Berry's books because I enjoyed Distant Land so much.
It is saying a lot when I want to come back and read a book again. The perspective over time of one place makes you feel like you grew up there. The amazing character development in each short story speaks to me of a hero of literature. This book, with is generous helpings of humor both subtle and obvious, matched with genuine grief will leave you warm, and with a new perspective. If you like Richard Peck you may also like Wendell Berry.
I could probably read this book repeatedly for the rest of my life and end up greatly enriched each time. I suppose I could read anything by Wendell Berry with the same benefit, though it seems I relish his collections of related short stories even more than the novels. They cause healthy reflection about the stories of my own life, and the lives of my fore-fathers, and they cause me to realize (as I suspect Berry intends) that the chronological placement of the various characters and events is not all that important: what matters is the characters and their interrelationships with the land, their community, and the development of understanding.
I noticed that two of the stories in Distant Land were very similar (if not identical) to stories in Fidelity: but I enjoyed them equally in this volume. There is no sentimentality in Berry's writing, though it appears there must be! How does one record stories of a rural homeland with wonderful relationships and even the occasional resolved problem without becoming maudlin? I don't know how this great writer does it, but I'd love to learn: so I continue to order and read (or listen to) his books. As an earlier reviewer states: Berry is a National Treasure.
In addition, Michael Kramer is the most effective narrator possible--I'll likely listen to all the Berry books narrated by him first, and then move on to the others, most of which I admit are also good.
Oh, I cannot tell you how much I loved this book and the excellent narration. I do not know where Wendell Berry has been all my life, but I have already given this book to half a dozen friends who love excellent literature and they all loved it too. More will be gifted during the holidays. If you loved Our Town, guarantee you will love this one too!
Wendell Berry has the ability to paint a magnificent portrait with words. He is spiritually insightful and "That Distant Land" does not disappoint. A great collection of short stories.
One of the most enjoyable books that I have read.
I felt like I was there with the characters in the stories. I felt their humanity, love, pain, etc.
It moved me.
I highly recommend these stories to those learning to understand the close ties born of rural agrarian communities. Of the vale of hard work and lifelong commitments to the land and it's people. Berry's grasp of the values of the families and the commitment to the land is as accurate as told by our grandparents.
There are many memorable moments, A country lawyers grasp on his community and it's secrets, a return from war, the joining of two in marriage, the pride of a good crop and strong livestock. I laughed, cried, wondered and exalted. This story made me think.
The reader has a grasp on the charecters and their emotions, It is read with an even and predictable voice that adds to the seriousness and then the humor in the situations. Some may say to slow, but time to reflect is needed. A few technical glitches from the transfer from CDs but easily overlooked.
The country lawyer of Wheeler and his son. An old man that has real grasp on the sorrows and the triumphs of a culture being lost to progress. A hollowing out of the hills and bottoms of Northern Kentucky.
I chose this book even though it had only 4 very good reviews because I had heard Berry was an excellent author and thinker. A few authors had rated him as one of their top ten favorites. THis, however, is probably not the book they read. THe reader is good, but the stories have no beginning, middle or end. It reminds me of when you are kid and grandpa is rambling on about boring people you never knew. Yea, 18 hours of that. I listen to mostly dry non-fiction, but this book was so boring it was the closest I've come to shutting one off.
Did not enjoy the un-neccessry language! We were very dissapointed. Had looked forward to a good story, but it's slow in getting started and definitley did not like the explatives...so we did not finish them....wasted a credit!
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