Take a Rest in Port William Fiction With Wendell Berry

Chris —  March 21, 2009

I’m an “avoracious” reader as Barney Fife once said.  In addition to theology and blogs, I read a lot of fiction.  Rarely do I recommend fiction in posts. I make an exception for Wendell Berry.  If you are looking for reading that will help you think carefully about life in the 21st century, then read Berry’s books about Port William, a fictional community in Kentucky.

For an explanation of why you should read Wendell Berry, read this article in Christianity Today (click here).  I am not as high on Berry as these authors – – I don’t think he is the prophet we most need to hear – – still, his perspective is well worth considering.

There are a number of Port William books.  I would recommend beginning with Hannah Coulter. It’s short – – you could read it in a few hours, and yet profound.  An excerpt:

This is the story of my life, that while I lived it weighed upon me and pressed against me and filled all my senses to overflowing and now is like a dream dreamed. So close to the end now, what do I look forward to? ‘Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.’ Some morning, I pray, I’ll have the good happiness of ‘the man who woke up dead,’ who Burley Coulter used to tell about. Wendell Berry. Hannah Coulter, page 5.

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4 responses to Take a Rest in Port William Fiction With Wendell Berry

  1. I couldn’t agree more. Mr. Berry’s books are so beautifully written that I literally copy down passages in longhand just for the sheer delight of it. His books are not to be missed.

  2. Jayber Crow is the best contemporary novel I’ve read.

  3. Bret, I think I agree. There is so much for pastors to think about in Berry’s fiction.

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