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Publisher's Summary

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

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A Life-Changer

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.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • M
  • United States
  • 10-09-10

A National Treasure

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.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • valerie
  • RICHFIELD, MN, United States
  • 05-20-10

Caught my attention

Loved this book . I listened to several more of Wendell Berry's books because I enjoyed Distant Land so much.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Kathleen
  • Monrovia, CA, United States
  • 02-12-11

Feels real wholesome and generous

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
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Loved it -- listened to it 3 times in a row

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!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
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Simply beautiful

Berry is so good ad describing mundane things in a beautiful way. This book didn't grab me at first, because I didn't understand the style or story, but I became captivated after a few chapters. The performance is absolutely superb! The voices for the ladies are a little silly sounding, but otherwise the performance alone is worth listening to this book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Short stories form coherent whole.Wonderful prose.

This collection of stories is about several generations of families living and working around the fictitious town of Port William, Kentucky, which is supposedly about an hour or so by car from Louisville. These are about white, Christian people, but, although the stories dramatize human feelings and emphasize values, this is not what one would normally call Christian fiction. The stories span the period from 1888 to 2000, arranged chronologically, and are sufficiently interlinked that you can almost imagine this collection as a novel. It's a great pleasure to read or listen to Wendell Berry's poetic prose. He has been mentioned as a candidate for the Nobel Prize for Literature, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if he does win one of these years.

There are lots of different characters and places talked about, and it can be frustrating keeping them all straight. There is a map of the region of Kentucky around Port William as well as family trees for the major characters that can be viewed or downloaded from wendellberrybooks.com. (Audible would do a service to its readers if it could include these as downloads or at least point to them in its online synopsis.)

The reader, Michael Kramer, is very clear, a bit slow, but I found it gave me time to reflect on the words. He reads with a kind of soft Southern drawl, which is not really how people living in north-central Kentucky speak, but, for most of us, it is probably easier to listen to than the authentic dialect of tobacco country.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
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marvelous & heartwarming!

A great way to become intimately acquainted with many of the delightful characters and relationships that make up the Port William membership. Mr. Berry's characters and stories shine with the goodness of humanity.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance

masterful stofytelling

well developed characters with a theme of another Era gave the stories a depth of development that made listening a treat.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • John
  • PICKERINGTON, OH, United States
  • 02-13-16

Great in Car!

What made the experience of listening to That Distant Land the most enjoyable?

This is now one of my favorite Books (out of over 1,000) as I can now listen in my car, at Doctor offices or any other boring place! These are very humorous short stories. They take the stress out of rush hour! A true 5 in my experience. ND John

What did you like best about this story?

These stories take us back to the late 1800's & early 1900's. Few cars & no computers. Life was simplar then, and Funny!

Have you listened to any of Michael Kramer’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Not that I can recall. But I will search Audible.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, I wanted short stories. I have other chapter Books.

Any additional comments?

I'm glad I ordered this book. ND John

1 of 1 people found this review helpful