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.
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.
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.
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.
Confessing the unpardonable sin of antipathy to stories involving American history, I have to say that I could not stop listening to this compelling set of short stories, the substance of which, and the way that they were told, ushered me back into the warm presence of my now-departed Kentucky ancestors. By the first minutes of listening, the memory of sitting around a gathering of my parents, grand and great grandparents, aunts, and uncles lesser and greater sharing the comedies and dramas of their years and those preceding them was instantly resurrected, and I was among them again. Wonderful.
I loved the stories about the people. He really shows you who they are and they are real as real can be. I started to cry when it was over, just because it was over and the people went away. I wanted to hear more, to keep going. Beautiful. Enriching. Engaging.
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.
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