Book Review: Hannah Coulter ~ Wendell Berry
Every Christmas for the past umpteen years, my partner has gone to Jane’s Bookstore and picked out 5 or 6 books on Jane’s recommendation for me to read.
It is a most wonderful gift, and as the kids and Dad race off to the ski slopes on Christmas morn, I nestle into my chair and open up a prize. I also make the feast during my cozy day. Everyone is well fed, joyously centered as we share in the celebration of giving gifts in the evening.
2007 Christmas brought the book Hannah Coulter to my attention. Though it was not the first book I read this past holiday it is the most recent of my cozy reads. Mr. Berry has a smooth descriptive style of writing in this book and the prose drew me in and connected me to the story. Much precision in word choice and I also found this very enjoyable.
It is the story of Hannah and her life in a small rural community. Many of the characters have appeared in other books by the author about his fictitious location. Hannah tells the story of her own life which is simple and plain – rather ordinary. Her life story tells the story of survival and community dynamics and how the community has made a rapid transition in response to WWII. How war affects us all for generations to come, the author is neither calling the change good nor bad, rather he observes the changes in the precision with which the story unfolds. The lessons of war are revealed near the end of the story and are shared in the nightmares of the characters. The chapter on marriage and intimacy I had to read several times for the sheer beauty of the expression. I highly recommend this book for people who feel community and connections are important parts of your own story.