Wendell Berry has the rare gift of being able to describe a scene with the exact economy of words necessary to evoke it in the reader’s mind. This book is the second I’ve read of his. The first was Nathan Coulter, which is the first book he wrote in the Port William series. I often see online posts asking which is the best book to start the Port William series. The books don’t have to be read in any particular order, but I decided to read them in the order that Berry wrote them.
It’s easy to grow deeply attached to the people (and place) of Port William. It evokes a simpler time that was still rife with its share of problems. My favorite quote from the book comes in the early pages..
“It used to be asked, by strangers who would happen through, why a town named Port William should have been built so far from the river. And the townsmen would answer that when Port William was built they did not know where the river was going to run.”
Trying to place Berry’s fictional books in a genre is a challenge, but I suppose I would call it historical fiction. A Place on Earth is set during the last year of WWII. As such, it gives a slice of life of what living in small town USA during that era would have been like.
I’m going to continue to read this series. The characters have taken on a life of there own, and I want to read more about where they came from, who they are and where they are going.