As I unpacked my suitcase at my parents’ house last week, I realized I forgot to bring a book. Fortunately, this is never a problem. My parents both have many books from which to choose. And so I stumbled upon one of my father’s books, and discovered an author I had never heard of before. I brought his book home with me, and read it cover to cover in about three days. This was one of those books you never want to end.
Fidelity: Five Stories by Wendell Berry
rating: 5 of 5 stars
Have you ever read a book only to envy the author’s talent? If only I could be as wonderful a writer as Wendell Berry. The simplicity of his words evoke beautiful images of both scenery and inner beauty of the people he writes about. The five stories in this book are all set near Port William, a fictional town in the farmland of Kentucky. The characters are all connected in some way, just as in real small town life. The faithfulness of the characters are examined in each story; faithfulness to a father, wife, friend, or even one’s self.
“And there on the ridgetop in the low sunlight they danced the dance of women laughing, bending and straightening, raising and lowering their hands, swaying and stepping with their heads back.” (from “A Jonquil for Mary Penn”)
In your mind’s eye, can’t you just see the above image? Fidelity is full of such images. Perhaps one of the reasons I loved this book is because the descriptions of these families correspond with the images I have of my father’s childhood. He was raised in a very small town, worked on a farm, and had strong family ties. Or perhaps I am reminded of my own childhood in a rural community.
The last paragraph of “Making It Home,” in its simplicity, brought tears to my eyes. ‘”Honey, run yonder to the house. Tell your granny to set on another plate. For we have our own that was gone and has come again.”‘
I am usually not a fan of short story collections. These short stories, however, captured my heart.