Tuesday, August 2, 2011

"Hannah Coulter" a novel by Wendell Berry

Hannah Coulter, a novel by Wendell Berry.

As usual, listening to NPR, I heard another author discussing Wendell Berry's "Hannah Coulter", a passage read from the book interested me so much that I finally decided to read it. This book had passed through my hands countless times at the circulation desk, yet I had never given it much thought - possibly the cover just didn't catch my interest - I know "Don't judge a book...." but you know we all do!!!!!!

"The year I was twelve my mother died. She took the flu and then pneumonia, and then, almost before we could think that she might die, she was dead. By her grave, when we brought her there, there was a heap of snow on one side and a heap of dirt on the other."

At about this time in her young life, Hannah is going to become less involved with her own family, as her father will remarry a widow, Ivy Crutchlow, "she was not a good wife to my father, and she lived up to the bad reputation of stepmothers." And her two sons, Elvin and Allen who were the "stars in her (ivy's) crown, and so Hannah knows that her father is (or will be) lost to her (Hannah). Hannah did well in school, was the class valedictorian, she leaves home and moves into Miss Ora's home, and obtains a "fill-in position", meets Virgil Feltner, who is determined to marry her.

As life begins to fall into place, World War II interrupts life as Hannah has come to know it. The interloper this time is not a widow, but a widow-making war. Time and Nathan Coulter ease Hannah's grief and pain, once again Hannah begins a new life.

Wendell Berry uses the narrative style of telling Hannah's story -- a style similar to Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping. I enjoyed Hannah Coulter's story and the writing very much.

Hope you will consider this book.

Happy Reading

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