Tuesday, January 27, 2009

In the Footsteps of a Barber

Jayber Crow Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars

An easy five star rating for this one- half way through I already knew it had become one of my favorite books.

Not driven by plot, in fact not "driven" in any sense, this is a story that walks you gently and honestly through many parts of a life. It's hard to put words to a reading experience such as this one that takes you deep into the heart of what it means to live, to be alive. Despite its fiction narrative, "Jayber Crow" feels far closer to a guided meditation on youth and age, Progress vs. nature, community vs. materialism. About every five pages, a passage would knock me over with its distillation of truth and beauty from that which is most obvious and taken for granted. Over and over, I read things that made me say "I have always thought/felt that, and no one has ever put language to it." I've never used "integrity" to describe a book, but that is what this book showed me, and in a way that feels livable and desirable.

Wendell Berry's heart for the things that run deeper than the passing of years, leads me, more than anything I have yet to encounter, towards an understanding of where our American culture sold its soul in exchange for borrowed fantasies of what qualifies as a life. And at the same time, this is one of the most hope-giving narratives I've ever had the blessing to sit with night after night.

Oh read it. Read it. I don't know what else to say.
View all my reviews.

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